Rhino Crisis Round Up: Killing Spree Continues in South Africa and India
32 rhinos were killed in South Africa as of January 24th and 13 suspects were arrested for rhino crimes, according to the Department of Environmental Affairs. The country’s rhino death toll reached 668 in 2012.
Three rhinos were gunned down in India, including one which was translocated to Manas National Park under Indian Rhino Vision 2020. However, the International Rhino Foundation points out that despite this tragic news, the species continues to make a strong comeback from fewer than 200 individuals at the turn of the 20th century.
The Telegraph reports that the other two victims had unfortunately strayed out of protected areas in Kaziranga and Orang National Parks.
One rhino carcass was found at Sitolmari Sor, a sandbar in Morigaon district. The horn had been removed before the forest team got to the spot, 1km from Orang … The second killing was reported at Gohpur, adjacent to Kaziranga, in Sonitpur district. Poachers shot the rhino, which is believed to have strayed from the park, and chopped off its horn.
The greater one-horned rhino population has increased to just over 3,000, and is found only in protected areas of India and Nepal.
Sumatran rhino signs
In Indonesia, camera trap and monitoring surveys led by Leuser International Foundation (LIF) in Gunung Leuser National Park have detected the signs of what is believed to be 60 Sumatran rhinos. Unfortunately, the rhinos are currently separated from each other in isolated pockets of habitat, which presents a challenge for breeding opportunities. There are fewer than 200 Sumatran rhinos still surviving.
Drones in Kenya
The drones are fitted with a live streaming HD camera, which is mounted for 360o remote controlled viewing. The rhino and other endangered species will be chipped with radio frequency ID (RFID) tags.
The drone and tagging system allows the conservancy to monitor the well-being of the wildlife, and to create a ton of data on animal movements and behavior. The good news is that protecting wildlife means protecting tourism, and tourism mean more money for people in the local community, not just for a few poachers.
Besides the four Northern white rhinos, Ol Pejeta Conservancy is home to 88 black rhinos and eleven Southern white rhinos.