Rhino Crisis Round Up: Sumatran Rhino Pregnancy Watch & More
The International Rhino Foundation (IRF) is awaiting the historical birth of a critically endangered Sumatran rhino at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Indonesia’s Way Kambas National Park.
Expectant mother Ratu is being monitored 24/7 by her primary veterinarian, as well as a team of rhino experts from several continents.
Ratu’s baby is expected to be born sometime within the next two to three weeks. Update: Ratu has given birth to a healthy male calf!
Sumatran rhinos are one of the Earth’s rarest species, with fewer than 200 surviving in Indonesia and Malaysia.
Learn more about IRF and the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary here.
Death toll rises in South Africa
Meanwhile, South Africa’s rhinos remain under siege by international organized crime syndicates, whose mercenaries have now slaughtered 251 of the country’s beloved pachyderms this year.
The government stated that 149 of the rhino killings occurred in Kruger National Park, and 170 people have been arrested for rhino crimes.
Exporting rhinos to China
Additional details were revealed this week about one South African company which appears to be responsible for exporting at least 28 rhinos to China during a four-year period.
The company — Decai International — has a physical address in Gauteng Province and its directors are listed as Hao Song, Hong Wang, Hong Yu Chen, Jin Hong Wang, and Shouwen Jiang. Seven people — Hongpeng Ju, Tao Liang, Shouwen Jiang, Haiquan Lu, Xiaoming Li and Yuan Lun Liu — were listed as “resigned”. (It is not clear if Shouwen Jiang refers to the same individual.)
According to CITES data, South Africa documented the export of 159 live rhinos to China between 2007 — 2010, with at least 60, and possibly as many as 134, captured from the wild.
Whether or not due diligence was conducted by South Africa’s designated CITES Management and Scientific Authorities regarding this trade issue is open to question.
‘Conservation Drones’ in Nepal
WWF Nepal announced the successful test flights of its “Conservation Drones” (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), which will be used to patrol protected wildlife areas inhabited by flagship species, such as rhinos and tigers.
The remote-controlled drones are able to cover a distance of 25 kilometers in 45 minutes, and will also monitor illegal activities within Nepal’s Terai Arc Landscape.
A royal supporter of rhinos
Prince William has voiced his concern about the rhino crisis, telling BBC News this week that those who participate in the illegal rhino horn fade are “extremely ignorant, selfish, and utterly wrong”.
He said the rhino and elephant situation makes him “very angry”.
Photo © Bill Konstant, International Rhino Foundation; chart © Annamiticus Media/Saving Rhinos; greater one-horned rhinos via Shutterstock