This year, Kenya is celebrating the fact that no new rhinos were killed by poachers in 2020, this is a first in 20 years. I know, this is an odd thing to celebrate, and it is a pity to be in a world were we have to celebrate another species not being killed by our own. Isn’t it weird…? We celebrate the fact that rhinos were not killed by poachers, as if we were powerless against their killing by members of our species. Are we powerless? When we can send men to space, build satellites, self-driving cars, nanobots, artificial intelligence, and so many technological innovations, yet… protecting another species (from us) is a challenge! I guess we take wins where we can… Enjoy… Excerpts below are from an article on the BBC.
Kenya celebrates rhino safety success
Conservationists in Kenya are marking some good news: for the first time in more than 20 years there have been no rhino deaths due to poaching.
Director General of Kenya Wildlife Service Brigadier John Waweru told BBC Newsday they intend to enforce the same tactics applied last year to end poaching.
“Through my teams, I have enhanced anti-poaching and intelligence led operations as well as strengthening cooperation and intelligence with stakeholders, law enforcement agencies and local communities,” he said.
This is encouraging news, and I could not pass on it. The full article is from The Guardian!
Numbers of African black rhinos in the wild have risen by several hundred, a rare boost in the conservation of a species driven to near extinction bypoaching.
Black rhinos are still in grave danger but the small increase – an annual rate of 2.5% over six years, has swollen the population from 4,845 in 2012 to an estimated 5,630 in 2018, giving hope that efforts put into saving the species are paying off.
The painstaking attempts to save the black rhino have included moving some individuals from established groups to new locations, increasing the species’ range and ensuring viable breeding populations, as well as protecting them through stronger law enforcement efforts. Numbers of all of the three subspecies of black rhino are now improving.
“The continued slow recovery is a testament to the immense efforts made in the countries and a powerful reminder that conservation works,” said Grethel Aguilar, acting director general of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which compiles the global red list of species under threat.
“[But] there is no room for complacency as poaching and illegal trade remain acute threats. It is essential that the ongoing anti-poaching measures and intensive, proactive population management continue, with support from national and international actors.”
The outlook for the other African rhino species is still troubled, according to the update to the red list published on Thursday.
White rhinos are more numerous in Africa but categorised by the IUCN as near-threatened. The outlook for them has worsened in recent years, driven by high levels of poaching in South Africa’s Kruger national park. White rhinos have larger horns than their black counterparts, making them more attractive to poachers, and they are easier to find as they prefer more open habitats.
I never thought of flying a rhino until the BBC published an article on the subject the other day. Imagine flying a 1.5 tonne animal in an airplane: what does it entail? what are the challenges? why do it in the first place? Here are a few excerpts from the article; for the full version, check out the article ‘How do you get a rhino to fly‘. At the end of the article, I felt sad that humanity has come to this in order to preserve an endangered species from humans! Is the answer to relocate all endangered species all over the world to avoid extinction? Any ideas?
… 12 white rhinos have just left their native South Africa for a new life in a nearby country, as part ofan anti-poaching project.
The beasts spent 15 hours in a truck, plane, and helicopter to get from a game park in KwaZulu Natal, on South Africa’s east coast, to their new location.
Step 1: Blindfold and ear plugs
“The animals are caught and put into a steel crate that’s specially designed to contain them, and designed to fit in the aircraft.”
… “You have to immobilize them – make them go to sleep completely, and then blindfold them. And then you put earplugs in their ears.
And then, you slowly give them a little bit of [sedative] reversal, enough so they can stand up. They’re uncoordinated at that stage – so then you put a rope round their heads and you pull them slowly into the crate.
“They have to walk on their own feet because they’re very heavy. You can’t move a tonne of sleeping meat!”
The rhinos need to be awake throughout the flight so they can move their legs and regulate their own breathing. “The problem with a flight that long and an animal this big, is that if it lies for too long, that restricts circulation to the leg. And they get pins and needles – and then occasionally the animal could lose the use of that leg.”…
Step 2: Roll it into the plane
Then comes the heavy lifting.With the rhinos safely in their transport crates, a crane lifts them onto the back of a truck bound for the airport.
Next,the crane deposits them on a loading vehicle, which will move them on to a plane.
“In this case we had rollers on the floor,” … “We just laid them onto the rollers, and then rolled them into the aircraft. …
The process involves a significant team of human helpers. “The loading – you’ve normally got between10 or 12 people per rhino. Andwe normally do two at a time, so 25 people.”
Sadly,the move requires an armed security contingent due to the threat from poachers. Trading in rhino horn has been banned globally for four decades, but the substance – traditionally used in Chinese medicine – has a higher black market value than gold or cocaine.
… there are four rhinos airborne at any one time, “in a big military transport plane”.