There is no roadmap for ensuring the survival of rhino species, and there is more work than we can ever accomplish in our lifetime. However working together with our partners, we can achieve our goals. We applaud everyone’s commitment to ensuring that all five rhino species survive for future generations. IRF takes the approach of maximizing options and minimizing regrets, tackling the challenges facing rhinos using multi-faceted strategies. For all five rhino species, the highest priorities are also the most basic: bolstering anti-poaching activities or “boots on the ground”, maintaining intensive monitoring and active management of wild populations, and working with local communities.
Protecting Rhinos In The Wild
Protection and monitoring are key to rhinos surviving in the wild. 900 rhinos were killed by poachers in Africa in 2019, nearly 1 every 10 hours. IRF supports monitoring and protection activities in southern Africa and funds Indonesia’s Rhino Protection Units. In India, wildlife crime training has been implemented to help forestry officials better coordinate investigations.
Restoring Wildlife Habitat
In addition to continued protection, habitat management is critical to the success of rhinos. IRF supports programs and hires local workers to remove invasive species in Indonesia and India. In Sumatra, Indonesia, IRF is working with Way Kambas National Park to replant three sections of rainforest that were degraded.
Partnering With Local Communities In Conservation
Working in local communities, IRF ensures that people living close to rhinos – who often are struggling as a result of poverty and environmental degradation – will serve as active partners in wildlife protection and reap direct benefits from conservation efforts. IRF supports programs in South Arica, Zimbabwe, India and Indonesia that provide economic support, education, and other support, engaging local populations as a partner in conservation efforts.
In 1996, The International Rhino Foundation (IRF) and Yayasan Badak Indonesia (YABI) developed the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary (SRS) in Way Kambas National Park in Lampung, Indonesia. The SRS is home to seven rhinos that are part of an intensively-managed research and breeding program aimed at increasing Indonesia’s wild rhino population. At the sanctuary, the rhinos reside in enclosed forested areas where they can experience a natural rainforest habitat while still receiving state-of-the-art veterinary care and nutrition.
Reducing Demand For Rhino Horn
IRF supports local programs that work to reduce the demand in China and Vietnam for rhino horn in the use of traditional medicine or as a status symbol. Strategic messaging addresses consumer perceptions that rhino horn is a status symbol, urging younger potential consumers not to consume rhino horn by generating a negative social stigma associated with its use and making positive associations with non-users. The project also educates medicinal consumers by emphasizing that rhino horn has no proven pharmaceutical value and is a waste of money, while encouraging the public to educate others and report rhino crimes.
Supporting Scientific Solutions For Rhino Conservation
IRF has invested more than $1 million in research grants to support rhino conservation.