Daily news reports of poaching to fuel the international trade in rhino horn seem to paint a bleak future for many of the five rhinoceros species all listed as threatened by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It seems the pressure of hunting could crush this pachyderm’s prospects for survival. But there is hope and SOS is proud to be part of the solution that can deliver meaningful and measurable conservation impacts on the ground.
In tandem with the recent announcement of an agreement between representatives of the Malaysian and Indonesian governments to collaborate in saving the Critically Endangered Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis), SOS - Save Our Species has expanded its efforts in rhino conservation, financing two more projects in Asia each applying a variety of community empowerment and law enforcement methods to 2 species of rhino. This includes the Sumatran rhino which is the smallest and last form of the two-horned rhino in Asia that has lived on the planet for 20 million years. It is one of the world’s rarest rhino species with an estimated 100 individuals remaining in the wild.
Working with the International Rhino Foundation (IRF) in collaboration with Indonesian government authorities and the national NGO, Yayasan Badak Indonesia (YABI), the SOS funded project starts in April 2013 to ensure the survival of Sumatran rhinos in two of its three remaining habitats. This will be achieved through a four-pronged strategy. The mainstay of this effort will be the continuation of existing protection programmes, supported by increasing the efficiency of wildlife crime prosecution efforts as well as the collaboration and sharing of information with institutions responsible for protecting Sumatran rhinos in other protected areas. Finally, the project will implement livelihood programs which will directly involve local communities in wildlife and habitat protection efforts.
Commenting on the ground-breaking inter-governmental agreement at the meeting convened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Species Survival Commission (IUCN SSC), in Singapore last week, Executive Director of Yayasan Badak Indonesia (YABI), Widodo Romono stated that “serious steps must be taken to roll back the tide of extinction of the Sumatran rhino. This could be our last opportunity to save this species and, by working together as a collaborative unit, internationally and regionally, with an agreed vision and goals, a glimmer of hope has been clearly demonstrated. We need to act together urgently, hand in hand, replicating some of the inspirational successes of other conservation efforts and aim to stop and failures that might impede progress.”
See Ratu's calf Andatu - the first Sumatran rhino born in captivity in Indonesia
Clearly projects such as the one coordinated by IRF which SOS is funding are well suited to fanning that glimmer to become a flame of hope against the darkness of extinction for the Sumatran rhino. Indeed, the IRF has already recorded its own successes with the birth of several new rhino calves in 2012 including Andatu (above) the first Sumatran rhino born in captivity in Indonesia. More information about the SOS funded Javan and Sumatran rhino conservation projects will be available on the SOS website soon. Additionally we will soon be posting more news from the SOS funded Black rhino conservation project in Kunene, Namibia. In the meantime click on the links in the sidebar to enjoy a slideshow of mother Ratu and baby Andatu posted on the IRF website.