Kerri-Anne’s personal battle
In this exhilarating report, Kerri-Anne Kennerley travelled to Kenya to see one of the rarest species on earth — the northern white rhino.
There are only eight of this particular species of rhino left in the world, and out of that, only four that can potentially breed. These four were brought to Ol Pejeta Conservancy from the Czech Republic two years ago, with the help of wildlife organisation Flora and Fauna International and the great generosity of an Australian banker, Alistair Lucas.
Kennerley visited these rhinos along with Lucas, who was seeing them for the first time since they took their first steps on African soil two years ago.
These, along with all the other black and white rhino on the conservancy, are heavily guarded — they live behind electric fences on the 40,000-hectare conservancy. Armed guards patrol night and day, so heavy is the threat of poaching. Poaching has spiked in recent years due to the increased popularity of the use of ground rhino horn in traditional medicine in Vietnam and China.
“We have lost I think about nine rhinos, nine rhinos in the last fifteen years to poaching of which six have been lost in the last two years. So that gives you an indication of how the pressure from poaching has increased so dramatically in recent times,” said Ol Pejeta CEO Richard Vigne.
“Right now, the only way to secure rhino populations is to have armed security with a high capacity to operate both in daylight and at night to deter poachers. If you left rhinos in an unprotected area now, I would give them no longer than a week or two before they would be killed.”
So extreme is the threat in South Africa, where nearly 300 rhinos have been poached this year alone, that radical steps are being taken. Kennerley travelled to a farm on the outskirts of Kruger National Park, where rancher John Hume has taken to dehorning his rhinos every year in a bid to make them less appealing to poachers — an act he was driven to do after losing some of his stock to poachers. And Hume doesn’t want to stop there: he wants to create a legal trade in rhino horn to cut the poachers out of the picture.
In the meantime, World Wildlife Fund South Africa have taken another approach to safeguard the species, flying rhinos by chopper to better ground in a bid to increase breeding. Led by vet Dr Jacques Flamand, the Black Rhino Range Expansion project aims to create new rhino populations. They’ve run the project for eight years, with over 40 calves born during that time.
- Yao Ming Travels to Africa to Help Fight Poaching (ecorazzi.com)
- Rhinos to be killed in record number this year, says new wildlife report (bikyamasr.com)
- Rhino poaching crisis fueled by insatiable demand, new report finds (mnn.com)
- A Perilous Threat to Rhinos (aytacgok.wordpress.com)
- More than 500 rhinos could perish this year (mnn.com)
- Asian Countries Driving Rhino, Elephant Poaching (theepochtimes.com)
- You: The Horn Mafia: Africa Losing the Battle against Rhino Poachers (spiegel.de)
- South Africa reports 281 endangered rhinos killed from January to June, 176 arrests (vancouversun.com)
- Placing Ad for Rhino Horn, 3 years jail sentence (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- Affluent Vietnamese driving rhino horn poaching in South Africa, report warns (guardian.co.uk)
About endoftheiconsThe Leuser Ecosystem on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia is in grave danger. Local politicians want to allow logging, mining and palm oil plantations in this vulnerable area. Sumatran orangutans, rhinos, elephants and tigers are already hanging on by a thread. They will not survive the destruction of the Leuser Ecosystem.
- December 2014
- October 2014
- September 2014
- April 2014
- March 2014
- January 2014
- December 2013
- November 2013
- October 2013
- August 2013
- July 2013
- June 2013
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012