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The Giving Organisation Blog

Sep 16, 2011

WWF celebrates rhino heroes on Rhino Day - 22 September


Category:General

WWF is dedicating the second International Rhino Day, on 22nd September, to the brave men and women who devote their lives to defending rhinos. They are true heroes and we salute them.

South Africa’s rhinos are still facing a poaching onslaught, caused by the illegal rhino horn trade driven by demand from Asia. Rhino poaching is often carried out by well-armed, international criminal syndicates using sophisticated technology.  By the beginning of September, nearly 300 rhinos had already been killed by poachers in 2011.

Rhino security work on the ground is extremely important, and WWF supports this. But the courageous efforts of rhino heroes need to be backed up by work at other levels. This includes making sure that those guilty of rhino crimes do not walk free on technicalities, and that punishment is commensurate with the crime. In South Africa, officials have begun to conduct more rigorous prosecutions and impose stricter sentences. WWF has called for a corresponding commitment by countries in Asia where illegal demand for rhino horn is driving poachers.

What does WWF do to help rhinos?

WWF works with government and the National Prosecuting Authority to improve forensic investigation of rhino crime scenes and improve the knowledge and skills of the people who prosecute rhino crimes.  With TRAFFIC, WWF engages the Vietnamese and Chinese governments to address Asian demand for illegal rhino horn. We strengthen capacity-building through training of wildlife conservationists at the South African Wildlife College.

We fund security equipment and training of rangers at key rhino populations. Security is a critical part of rhino conservation but it is also essential to encourage rapid growth of rhino populations.  This is being done through the Black Rhino Range Expansion Project which creates significant new black rhino populations. So far six founder populations of black rhino have been released on to new sites. Nearly 100 black rhino have been translocated, and more than 30 calves have been born on project sites.

Black Rhino Range Expansion Project (BRREP)

More than a million rand was provided over the last year through WWF’s Black Rhino Range Expansion Project for rhino security on important rhino reserves in KwaZulu-Natal. This money was used for body armour, back packs, webbing, radios, binoculars, pepper sprays, motorcycles, light aircraft for aerial surveillance, camera traps, telemetry and radio equipment, crime scene investigation courses, and salaries for black rhino monitors.  We also paid for helicopter time for 16 veterinary interventions on black rhinos that had been snared.  All but one of these rhinos survived.

Rhino Day 2011: How can you help?

  • Promote Rhino Day on 22nd September.
  • Report anything suspicious to your local conservation authority.
  • Visit game reserves. Share your love for rhinos with people who don’t yet understand their plight.

 

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