Welcome to the new International Rhino Foundation blog! This past year has seen lots of changes – most notably we are launching a new “look”, with a new logo and website that we hope will be more engaging and user-friendly. We hope you think so too.
The IRF is successful because of its dedicated staff, and also because of you, the people and organizations who make our work possible. I’d like to extend my personal thanks to each and every one of you who has visited our website and especially those of you who have been kind enough to provide support to the IRF through web donations.
While all five rhino species remain in terrible peril – from poaching, from forest loss and habitat conversion, and from human settlements encroaching on their habitats in Africa, Indonesia, and India – all are in better shape than might be expected because of the International Rhino Foundation’s work. There are now about 19,500 rhinos on the planet – about 14,000 of these are white rhino, which have made a tremendous recovery from low, however, and most rhinos live in small, isolated protected areas surrounded by ever-growing, encroaching human populations with whom they must compete for resources.
In response to the global crisis in rhino conservation, the IRF protects particularly threatened rhino populations in the wild while also supporting management of and research on captive populations to improve the chances for long-term survival. IRF has already made great strides in preventing further declines and stabilizing rhino population trends in the areas in which we work.
- Indian, or Greater one-horned rhinos declined to about 200 at the turn of the century, but now number about 2,577 in 13 populations distributed between Assam and Nepal. IRF and partners are readying new areas in Assam to receive overflow from some of the more successful breeding populations.
- Black rhinos still are in terrible peril from poaching throughout their range, especially in Zimbabwe. About 3,700 are left worldwide, including Zimabwe’s 500 animals, which face escalating poaching threats. IRF and its partners work primarily in the lowveld conservancies of Zimbabwe, where we collaborate with local communities to ensure the safety of the animals through monitoring and anti-poaching patrols. Our rhino operations teams regularly remove snares, provide veterinary treatment, and rescue at-risk rhinos, moving them to safer areas.
- The most critically endangered of all rhino species, Indonesia’s Javan rhinos live only in Ujung Kulon National Park, exposing them to significant risk of extinction. Thanks to IRF-funded protection measures, there has not been a single rhino poaching incident in the park in the past 5 years, and the population has stabilized at around 50 animals.
- About 275 Sumatran rhinos remain on Indonesia’s Sumatra island and in Borneo. Sumatran rhinos have declined at a rate of 50% over the past 10 years, largely from deforestation and habitat fragmentation. But thanks in large part to IRF’s support, populations in the two areas in which we work, Way Kambas and Bukit Barisan Selatan National Parks, have stabilized. Only four poaching events have been recorded in the past 3 years because of the remarkable work and dedication of the Rhino Protection Units providing active security throughout their range.
Some situations facing endangered species seem hopeless. For rhinos, though, there is reason for optimism. We have, and will, continue to turn dire situations around, with your help.
Step inside our new website and learn more about rhinos. Sign up for our new quarterly e-newsletter so that you can keep up to date with the latest rhino conservation news.
Thanks for visiting. I hope you’ll be a return visitor time and time again.