Archive for Black Rhino

Organization of the Day: Ol Pejeta Conservancy

Posted in Organization of The Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 7, 2010 by Dori G

John and Jane Kenyon took over the management of Ol Pejeta in 1949 when it was owned by Lord Delamere and together they spent the next 15 years developing the ranch. When John first took on Ol Pejeta he was joined by a school friend and business partner of Lord Delamere named Marcus Wickham Boynton. Together they organized the then 57,000 acre ranch into a successful beef producing company. Over the next few years they successfully expanded the farm to cover an estimated 90,000 acres. John and Jane left Ol Pejeta in 1958, returning in 1959 for a further ten years before finally retiring to run their own cattle ranch to the north. Since that period the ranch has had a number of owners, all entrepreneurs in their own right.

In 1988, the Sweetwaters Game Reserve (24,000 acres) was opened by another of Ol Pejeta’s previous owners, Lonrho Africa. Primarily started as a sanctuary for the endangered black rhino, wildlife populations (including the “Big Five”) have steadily increased since that time. In 2004 the ranch was purchased by Fauna and Flora International, a UK based conservation organisation. The Sweetwaters Game Reserve has now been extended to encompass the entire ranching area to create the “Ol Pejeta Conservancy”, approximately 90,000 acres in extent. This has created the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa, with the aim of generating profit from wildlife tourism and complementary activities (including cattle) for reinvestment into community development in the local area.

The Conservancy boasts the largest sanctuary for black rhinos in East Africa, provides a sanctuary for great apes and is host to the ‘big five’ among a large selection of other African animals. The Conservancy also operates a successful cattle program that is integrated with the local wildlife. The Conservancy also operates programmes with the surrounding local community to aid health, education, water, roads, provision of agriculture and livestock extension services and the development of community-based conservation tourism ventures. It has a number of projects aimed at protecting the highly endangered black rhino, and spends considerable time and effort ensuring that the security and further growth of the current population is maintained, the number of black rhinos on the conservancy currently stands at 100.

In 2009, four of the world’s eight remaining Northern White rhinos were transferred to Ol Pejeta from the Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic.  Other than these four, Northern White Rhinos have gone extinct in the wild.  Ol Pejeta is trying to repopulate the area with these rhinos.

To learn more, please visit their website.

25 Things You Might Not Know About Rhinos

Posted in Africa: Rhinos, Asia: Rhinos with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 9, 2010 by Bush Warriors

The fascinating rhino facts below are brought to you by International Rhino Foundation. Enjoy!

1. A group of rhinos is called a ‘crash’.

Crash of white rhinos.

2. White rhinos aren’t white (and black rhinos aren’t black). The white rhino’s name is taken from the Afrikaans word describing its mouth: ‘weit’, meaning ‘wide’. Early English settlers in South Africa misinterpreted the ‘weit’ for ‘white’.

3. Rhinos are fast! They can run up to 30–40 miles per hour, which may not sound like much, but if one is running straight towards you it feels like a NASCAR race car is coming your way.

Credit: Chris Wildblood

4. Rhino pregnancies last 15-16 months. Yikes!

5. A rhino’s skin is much softer than it looks, and is actually quite sensitive to sunburns and insect bites (that’s why rhinos like rolling in the mud so much – it helps to protect them from the sunburns and insects).


Credit: Pietie

6. Contrary to the common myth, there is no evidence that rhinos stamp out forest fires!

7. The white rhino is the largest rhino (and the largest land mammal after the elephant) – they can weigh up to 6,000 pounds. The Sumatran rhino is the smallest rhino, weighing in at a mere 1,300–2,000 pounds.

Sumatran rhinos.

8. Rhinos have poor eyesight, but very well-developed senses of smell and hearing (and they will charge at you when startled – the best way to escape is by climbing a tree, if one is handy!).

9. African rhinos have a symbiotic relationship with oxpeckers, also called ‘tick birds’. In Swahili, the oxpecker is called ‘askari wa kifaru’, which means ‘the rhino’s guard’. The oxpecker eats ticks and other insects it finds on the rhino, and creates a commotion when it senses danger.

Rhino with an oxpecker.

10. Most rhinos use piles of dung to leave ‘messages’ for other rhinos – nuances in the smell of dung can tell a rhino a lot about others in the area. Each rhino’s smell identifies its owner as unique – the smell is different for young vs adult animals, for males vs females, and females in estrus vs non-reproductive females. Combined with urine left along trails, dung piles create invisible ‘borders’ around a rhino’s territory.

11. Rhinos have existed on earth for more than 50 million years, and once roamed throughout North America and Europe (as well as Asia and Africa).

12. Throughout their history, rhinos have been a very diverse group. The extinct rhino Paraceratherium was the largest land mammal that ever lived, and resembled a big, muscular giraffe. Telecoeras was a single-horned, hippo-like grazer common in North America.

13. The book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, written by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by W.W. Denslow, differs a lot from the movie classic, and actually has a reference to rhinos. Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Lion each get to meet the Wizard individually and he appears differently to each one of them. To Dorothy he appears as a huge head, to the Scarecrow as a beautiful woman, to the Lion as a great ball of fire, and to the Tin Man as a terrible beast. The beast is described as such, ‘It was nearly as big as an elephant, and the green throne seemed hardly strong enough to hold its weight. The Beast had a head like that of a rhinoceros, only there were five eyes in its face. There were five long arms growing out of its body and it also had five long, slim legs. Thick woolly hair covered every part of it, and a more dreadful-looking monster could not be imagined.’ Somehow, this never made it to the film version.

14. Three of the five surviving rhino species (black, Javan and Sumatran) are Critically Endangered, which means there is at least a 50% chance that these species will become extinct within three generations (for rhinos, this means about 30-60 years).

Java rhinos, credit: International Rhino Fund of New Zealand

15. The ancient woolly rhino, whose entire body was covered in a thick, shaggy coat, was hunted by early humans and is depicted in cave paintings dating back more than 30,000 years ago. The Sumatran rhino is the closest living relative of the extinct woolly rhino (and they’ve got the hair to prove it!).

16. The black rhino has a prehensile lip which allows it to feed on trees and shrubs (the other African species, the white rhino, has a long, flat lip for grazing on grasses).

 See the Black Rhino’s narrowed lip designed for browsing?

17. The Javan rhino is the rarest land mammal in the world. Less than 50 individuals survive in only two locations (Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam and Ujung Kulon National Park) in Indonesia.

18. Not all rhinos are solitary – both black and white rhinos commonly live in extended family groups (particularly females and calves).

19. Rhino horn is not used as an aphrodisiac in traditional Asian medicine. It is actually used to reduce pain and fever, although there is no scientific evidence to support this usage, and of course, it is illegal.

20. Sumatran, black and white rhinos all have two horns, Javan and greater one-horned rhinos have one horn (and some female Javan rhinos don’t appear to have a horn at all).

21. The most famous piece of rhino artwork is Albrecht Durer’s woodcut, ‘The Rhinoceros’, printed in 1515. It (not entirely accurately) depicts a greater one-horned rhino sent as a gift from the King of Portugal to Pope Leo X, and has been reprinted countless times over the past 500 years.

22. The word rhinoceros comes from the Greek rhino (nose) and ceros (horn).

23. Depending on the species, rhinos can live to between 35 and 50 years old.

24. Rhino horns are made of keratin, the same material that makes up your hair and fingernails.

25. The closest living rhino ‘relatives’ are tapirs, horses and zebras.

Visit http://www.rhinos-irf.org/ to learn more about rhinos and rhino conservation.

One-Horned Rhinos, only 435 left!

SA: Rhino Poaching Syndicate Busted by Government Authorities

Posted in Africa: Rhinos with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2010 by kendickjerkins

Last year 95% of all rhino poaching cases occurred in South Africa and Zimbabwe as rhino poaching reached a 15 year high.  Rhino horns are used in traditional Asian medicines, and more and more poaching syndicates have been forming around this highly lucrative market.  Recently one of these syndicates was shut down by the Johannesburg National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).  The NPA arrested men who are accused of killing 17 rhino in Kruger National Park, the Mfolozi National Park, and a number of game farms.  Along with the arrests they seized an airplane which is thought to be used to transport poachers, transport horns, and spot and target rhinos.  Three members have already been charged and sentenced with six more awaiting trial.

A black rhino

A black rhino that was killed and then had its horn removed to be sold on the black market

A poacher, his weapons and the horn that he illegally removed from an endangered black rhino

To read the full article about the poaching syndicate’s arrest click here

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Rhino Baby Born, Milestone Number Reached at 100…good news or sad news?

Posted in Africa: Rhinos with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2010 by kendickjerkins

Finally 100 rhinos are now in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy.  With poaching on the rise again, especially for rhino horns, numbers like 100 are a big deal.  The conservancy is one of the main breeding grounds for rhinos in Kenya and has enjoyed great successes in spite of challenges, which need to be dealt with. Elsewhere in East Africa, Uganda had lost her entire population of rhinos in the early 1980s, when dictatorships turned a blind eye to poaching or when allegedly regime members were part and parcel of the poaching rings, and only a few years ago did the Rhino Fund Uganda bring the Southern White species back into the country and started a breeding program on the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, where the three females have since given birth to three healthy young males.

Rhino mother and calf

Meanwhile in Kenya, breeding programs are much more advanced already, having commenced two-and-a-half decades earlier, when the Lewa Down Conservancy and the equally-private Solio Game Reserve were joined by the first two official rhino reserves in Lake Nakuru National Park and in Tsavo West National Park below the Ngulia escarpment. Relative newcomer Ol Pejeta, however, turned the tables on the more established breeding programs when it became the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa.

However, considering rhinoceros used to be present all across Africa, the fact that now having 100 be a milestone number is deeply disturbing.  While the human population is growing at a runaway rate (almost 7,000,000,000, that is 7 billion) we are stuck celebrating rhinos reaching the three digit mark once again in this pristine Kenyan breeding habitat.  As long there is a market for illegally killed and butchered animals we will continue to push many species to the brink of extinction, and if we do not pay attention, they will go over the edge never to be seen again.

To read the full article about Ol Pejeta click here

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Kenya arrests rhino poaching ring

Posted in Africa: Rhinos with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2010 by kendickjerkins

NAIROBI — Kenyan wildlife rangers arrested 12 men from an illicit game trade syndicate suspected of killing a 10-year-old white rhino and hacking off its horns, the head of the country’s wildlife service said Monday.

This is what poaching of anything leads to…

To read the full article about the arrest in Kenya click here