We have already posted about the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in the wild and much like Save the Elephant Day, May 1st each year serves to bring our attention to the plight of the Rhinoceros in the wild! In Tanzania alone, there is a reason we call the Black Rhino elusive…
Firstly, we’ll begin with the good news! In recent years, the African Rhino population has been increasing thanks to conservation efforts. Our founder Fiona has been visiting Tanzania and the Ngorongoro Crater for many years and explains that;
“8 years ago, you would have been LUCKY to see even a snippet of the elusive Rhino. Having just returned (March 2019) from accompanying one of our ‘All Around Tanzania Safari’ tours I couldn’t believe that I saw a magical 6 Rhinos and 2 with babies!”
We are so delighted to know that preservation efforts are working and would love to share with you first-hand the extent of Rhino protection and how seriously it is taken. All photos featured in this blog are taken on our Safaris and show how incredible it is to spot these beautiful animals in the wild. Contact us today to book your dream African Safari and try your luck spotting the elusive Black Rhino!
In June 2018, it was reported that the population of the endangered Black Rhino in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area had doubled from 25 to just above 50 since 1977. This is due to reproduction and most importantly, enhanced anti-poaching efforts in Tanzania.
The Black Rhino
Growing up to 1.5 metres tall and weighing in at approximately 1.4 tonnes, can you believe that the Black Rhino is actually smaller in comparison with the White Rhino?
Although the species live a mostly solitary life, the bond between mother and daughter is strong and they can remain together for some period of time. This need for companionship, according to WWF, can continue later on in life with some females without calves joining up with another. Amazingly these animals can live up to 40-50 years of age, which raises more questions as to why their existence is so under threat.
Africa’s Rhinos are heavily under siege and we will of course go on to tell you all about the people helping to save them, however it’s incredibly important to understand why. We won’t go too far back here but over a 15-year period, beginning in 1972, approximately 96% of Africa’s Black Rhinos were slaughtered by poachers for their horns.
This is not taking into consideration natural deaths or those resultant of fights between bulls. 96% of Rhinos had their lives taken for human greed and commodification and numbers across the African continent dwindled to a mere 3,500 and now to do this day, less than 100 remain in Tanzania.
Primarily used as a symbol of wealth and status, Rhino horns have also been “claimed” to heal hangovers, fevers and even cancer… all in order to justify illegal poaching.
The status of the African Black Rhino is sadly still critically endangered and in 2007 a new poaching crisis hit alongside the rumour that the horns can cure cancer. On top of this, gangs are increasingly finding ways of improving their poaching effectiveness through technology such as veterinary drugs, transport, tracking equipment and weaponry.
What’s Being Done?
According to savefoundation.org there are a number of strategies currently being discussed and used, in an effort to save the Rhinos. These include;
· Traditional conservation work of habitats
· Horn Poisoning
· Demand Reduction Strategies
· Stockpile Selloffs
· Legislation of Rhino horn trade and farming
· Boots on the ground, anti-poaching work
Whilst many of these strategies are controversial and ALL have their pros and cons. It is still abundantly clear that efforts are being made world-wide to protect them.
The WWF have also employed canine units in an attempt of finding and apprehending poachers. Conservationists are still trying to find the right balance of strategies however it is exciting to see that SOMETHING is working
What Can We Do?
If, like us, these numbers have shocked and upset you, here are a few ways that you are able to get involved and help!
** A brief note from the author before we continue - I genuinely implore you to listen to this podcast entitled Tales Less Told - Antipoaching #2 next time you are on the train or cleaning the house or have a moment of free time. It was incredibly eye-opening during my research for this blog to listen to Nicholas Duncan, the Founder of the Australian based SAVE African Rhino Foundation discuss his 30-year operation which protects, funds and increases the African Rhino population whilst also being incredibly realistic and transparent about his own experiences and opinions.
We always encourage everyone to do their own research however a few suggestions are WWF and Save the Rhino. SAVE African Rhino Foundation is right here in Australia – hence it does not matter where you are… you can make a difference.
2. Don’t Buy
Ensure yourself and people you know, are not a part of the problem. If we can limit demand we can start to reduce the need to supply.
We don’t necessarily mean to lecture people about Rhino conservation but sharing a simple 96% population loss statistic with a family or friend could really make the world of difference. Inspire others however most importantly, educate yourself. We have already suggested a few podcast and links through to multiple websites, but we believe researching for yourself is the greatest way to understand and grow passion.
Do you have experiences with African Rhinos? Are you involved with or donate to a cause which protects them? Have you taken the time to research what more we can do? Do you have any questions? Please reach out to us on our socials as we would LOVE to hear from you!
Jaimee and Steph
All Around Tanzania Marketing Team