Rhino Crisis Round Up: Furry Fossils, The Fab Four & More

Lengthy prison sentences for rhino killers and hope for the world’s rarest rhino species are two of the highlights from this week’s Round Up.

More good news: World Rhino Day campaigns are announced in three more countries!

Rhino horn theft from residence

First, the unpleasant news: A troubling twist to the antique rhino horn robbery epidemic was spotted on Round Town News today.

This time, a stuffed rhino head was stolen from a man’s home in La Cañada del Fenollar near Alicante, Spain. It was found a few days later, with the horns missing.

21 years in a Zimbabwe prison

There is encouraging news from Zimbabwe, where NewsDay reported that the Masvingo magistrate’s court sentenced two rhino killers to 21 years each in prison.

Mozambicans Devi Gabriel Mutumani and Nyabanga Solomon were found guilty of contravening the Wildlife Act (Chapter 20:14), possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.

The pair was arrested last month in Humani Ranch, Save Valley Conservancy, Chiredzi.

Mutumani and Solomon claimed to be “mercenaries” hired to kill rhinos.

Fantastic news about the Fab Four

As you may recall, in December 2009, four of the world’s only known eight (now reduced to seven after the recent passing of Nesari) Northern white rhinos – Sudan, Suni, Fatu and Najin – made the historic journey from the Czech Republic to Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya.

The controversial move was done in hopes that the natural environment would encourage breeding.

Although no pregnancies have been announced, the new digs appear to be getting these massive mammals in the mood for love. Take a look at Fatu and Suni in action:

In addition to making baby rhinos the old-fashioned way (see above), some scientists also say that stem cell advances could one day be used as a “last ditch effort” to save the Northern white rhino from extinction.

Find out how to help Ol Pejeta’s rhinos here.

‘Rhino Month’ off to a smashing start

The Asian Rhino Project has started “Rhino Month” off with a success story! (With World Rhino Day on the 22nd, September has been named as “Rhino Month.”)

Thanks to an enthusiastic group of volunteers, the Asian Rhino Project’s Tin Shake fundraiser generated $1,000 for the rhinos.

A second event has been organized by the Asian Rhino Project for World Rhino Day, Rock Climbing for Rhinos. Get the details here.

(Links to download all four of the above posters can be found here.)

World Rhino Day

Excitement continues to build around World Rhino Day (September 22nd) as three more campaigns have been added to the calendar.

South Africa: On World Rhino Day, South Africans will gather in solidarity outside Parliament for an awareness-raising campaign on behalf of the country’s embattled rhinos. The Cape Town event is organized by Rhino Africa, and follows on last year’s successful World Rhino Day campaign in South Africa.

Malaysia: Critically endangered Javan and Sumatran rhinos are being featured for the month of September as part of TRAFFIC Southeast Asia’s “Twelve in Trouble” online awareness campaign. The NGO will be celebrating World Rhino Day and raising awareness by providing informational articles about rhinos and rhino horn trade, along with a fact sheet/poster, on their Facebook® page at facebook.com/Trafficsea.

USA: Fossil Rim Wildlife Center will celebrate World Rhino Day by hosting an art contest for local schoolchildren, and selling the art on September 22nd at Hollywood and Vine restaurant in Glen Rose. All proceeds from the art show and a portion of the proceeds from the dinners served on World Rhino Day will go to Fossil Rim’s rhino program. Connect with Fossil Rim on Facebook© to find out more about this event.

More information about #worldrhinoday can be found at Mark Your Calendar: World Rhino Day is September 22 {Videos}.

Furry fossil

Paleontologists are buzzing about a new rhino fossil uncovered in the Tibetan Plateau, which suggests that this region was the “cradle of evolution for Ice Age giants.”

Researchers believe this animal had a coat “like the fur of a modern yak” and speculate that the horn could have served as a “snow shovel”!

This curiosity, a flat, paddle-like horn that would have allowed it to brush away snow and find vegetation beneath, suggests the woolly rhinoceros was well-adapted for a cold, icy life in the Himalayas about 1 million years before the Ice Age.

The “new” rhino – dubbed Coelodonta thibetan – was smaller than woolly rhinos found in the Ice Age and about the size of a modern rhino.

Photo #1: © Rhishja Larson (author); photo #2 courtesy & © Asian Rhino Project; photo #3 courtesy & © Ross Bowers, Rhino Africa; images: Saving Rhinos LLC; photo #3 By Tiberio (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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