The plight of the Rhino and a faint glimmer of hope

The plight of the Rhino and a faint glimmer of hope

On March 19 2018 Sudan, the last Northern White Rhino in the world, closed his eyes for the last time, leaving behind only two critically endangered females, his daughter and granddaughter, Najin and Fatu, and we all woke up to the shocking reality of how close the extinction of rhinos truly is.

“Sudan is an extreme symbol of human disregard for nature,”

Jan Stejskal, director of international projects at the Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic, where Sudan spent most of his life.

 “He survived extinction of his kind in the wild only thanks to living in a zoo.”

Photo credit: Bhavesh Patel

What is more shocking is that in 1960, there were approximately 2000 Northern White Rhinos roaming the grasslands of East and Central Africa.

How did we get to this insane point almost 60 years later to have only TWO of these subspecies left?

The five species of rhino that survive today are the Black, White, Greater One-Horned, Javan and Sumatran as well as sub-species within these groups.

The Asian rhinos, Javan and Sumatran rhino, are considered to be critically endangered. The Greater One-Horned rhino, found in India, has increased in numbers up to 3,550 from only 200 in 1900. The third Asian species is listed as ‘vulnerable’.

The remaining two species are found in Africa and are the Black rhino, which is ‘critically endangered’ with only around 5,000 remaining, and the White rhinos, which are classified as ‘near threatened’.

The subspecies, which are the Western Black rhino and Northern White rhinos, are now officially extinct in the wild. The only two remaining Northern White rhinos live at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, where they are under 24 hour care.

Photo credit: Bhavesh Patel

The two main contributing factors to this major decline in rhinos have been a major poaching crisis as well as habitat loss. The Rhino horn is in high demand and one of its uses is in traditional Asian medicine and folk remedies, where it is usually ground up and used for a range of ailments.

Trophy hunting is another major factor which has been hugely contributing to the decline of this endangered species as it is an animal that is highly desired due to its rarity.

It really sickens me that people heartlessly pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to have the right to kill an endangered species like this, limiting the chance of our future generations of seeing these wonderful animals like we are able to today.

Photo credit: Bhavesh Patel

However, there is a faint glimmer of hope. Scientists have successfully managed to create two embryos, 18 months after the death of Sudan through collecting 10 immature eggs from Najin and Fatu (5 each).

“After incubation seven matured and were suitable for fertilization,” Cesare Galli, a professor based at the Avantea Laboratories in Cremona, Italy.

Jan Stejskal, director of Communication and International Projects at Dvur Kralove zoo said:

“Five years ago it seemed like the production of a northern white rhino embryo was almost unachievable goal- and today we have them.” 

While it’s absolutely positive that this particular subspecies on the cusp of extinction could be saved through cloning, it is important to remember that rhinos as a whole still largely remain under threat and that more needs to be done to secure them from poaching and trophy hunting, as well as raise awareness about their decline through education, sharing stories and helping the organisations that work tirelessly to save them as a species.

Some of these organisations are:

Helping Rhinos  that has several ways for you to donate or fundraise towards conservation and education initiatives that will ensure the long-term survival of the rhino as well as other endangered wildlife in their natural habitat.

I particularly like their sponsorship opportunities and I have sponsored one of the members of the Black Mambas, which is an all-female anti-poaching ranger team in South Africa.  You can become a Helping Rhinos Black Mamba Sponsor from just £5 a month.  https://www.helpingrhinos.org/sponsor-a-black-mamba

Born Free Foundation – sign their Rhino Horn Trade petition https://www.bornfree.org.uk/rhino-horn-trade

Tusk  who have helped pioneer an impressive range of successful conservation initiatives across more than 20 countries, increasing vital protection for over 10 million acres of land and more than 40 different threatened species.

Ol Pejeta Conservancy which is is home to the two last remaining northern white rhinos, and a sanctuary for over 110 critically endangered black rhinos. The Conservancy employs highly trained rhino protection squads, partners with international veterinary experts and ensures data is gathered regularly on each individual animal.

Please lets do our bit to help them in whatever way we can, either through fundraising, donations or simply helping to raise awareness.

Let’s not get to a point in a further 60 years time where the only place we see Rhinos are in documentaries and photos.

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Binita Shah-Patel

Hi, Iā€™m Binny – a writer, dreamer, serial wanderluster and travel addict. I am originally from Kenya but now live in London. I set up this blog to share my experiences eating out as well as travelling.

I love packing my bags and going off on adventures as one of the best things about travelling is the ability to just get lost in it. To set aside the maps and itineraries and just see where the road takes you, learning and evolving and living in the moment along the way.

It’s my goal to get swept off my feet as often as possible.

Find me on: Web | Twitter

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6 Comments

  1. Steve Daly
    September 22, 2019 / 6:22 am

    Poaching and habitat loss, both caused by a supposedly intelligent species…….what a sad reflection on the human race. Both causes the result of greed and stupidity.

  2. Paul
    September 22, 2019 / 9:08 am

    Hi Binny

    Is it ok to re post your Sudan rhino story onto Facebook?

    • September 22, 2019 / 9:10 am

      Yes sure šŸ™‚ Please could you tag binnysfoodandtravel šŸ™‚

  3. September 27, 2019 / 10:21 pm

    Ohhh I think my heart broke a little bit reading this. Great post Binny, I have learnt a lot. I also love the Black Mambas and have gone across to sponsor them. Love them!

  4. September 29, 2019 / 2:12 pm

    So heart breaking but I am glad the word is spreading and more people know how important it is to save these gorgeous animals for future generations. I always remember going to Rhino Charge when I was younger for this amazing cause

  5. November 4, 2019 / 9:57 am

    Heart-breaking. Lets hope mankind can undo some of the terrible things we have done and help these beautiful animals.

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