Posted on 13th May 2021 by Media Relations
Today is the International Rhino Foundation’s 30th Anniversary. This is also a significant milestone for Taronga as a founding member of the International Rhino Foundation (IRF) and proud partner for the last three decades. It is customary on any 30th birthday or anniversary to mark the milestone and consider what the future might hold.
A dire situation
Tragically, rhino populations are predicted to have reduced by a staggering 95% over the last two centuries driven by human impact including poaching, illegal wildlife trade and habitat fragmentation. Three of the five rhino species are critically endangered and there are predicted to be fewer than 80 Sumatran and Javan Rhino’s left on the planet, which means they could be extinct in our lifetime.
Without the work of IRF and its partners, it is likely that some rhino populations wouldn’t exist today. The Black Rhino is the most notable example with populations now steadily increasing from a critical 2,300 individuals in the early 1990’s to over 5,600 in 2020.
Saving a species
“The IRF has been a lead organisation in the fight to protect rhino in the field protecting wild populations, promoting breeding and science with partner zoos in zoos and in the halls of power promoting a global strategy and policy development. IRF was one of the first organisations to take a truly integrated global view for saving rhino around the world and can proudly celebrate its profoundly positive impact over thirty years” Said Cameron Kerr, Chief Executive Taronga and Board Member of IRF.
With the scary possibility of extinction, Taronga has played an active role with the International Rhino Foundation across all five species of Rhino. In addition to having one of the most successful zoo-based rhino breeding programs in the world, Taronga has supported IRF’s field conservation work by providing expertise and funding for vital breeding, protection and capacity building programs in Africa, India and Indonesia.
Over the last 30 years, Taronga’s vets, pathologists and reproductive biologists have worked closely with in-country staff to manage rhino health care, reproductive assessments, opportunistic cryopreservation and anaesthesia. Our experts also assist with training and building capacity of local veterinary teams. In Indonesia, this work with the IRF, the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary and government has resulted in two critically endangered Sumatran Rhino calves in the last 10 years with dreams of many more in the future.
Taronga’s expertise in conservation management, tourism and education has allowed us to significantly contribute to holistic community development and habitat development programs with the IRF. A joint IRF and Taronga restoration project in Way Kambas National Park in Sumatra is creating essential future habitat and will support an estimated 4% increase in Sumatran Rhino Populations as well as creating more than 50 local jobs and educating 250 students every year. The project has nearly restored 50Ha to date with a large-scale long-term restoration plan in development.
How you can help
Taronga’s and IRF supporters have funded scientific research, monitoring and anti-poaching patrols that remove hundreds of snares a year, funds for veterinary treatment and rescuing at-risk rhino’s moving them to safer areas. Due to the dedicated efforts of the rangers there has been no known poaching of Sumatran Rhino in Way Kambas National Park in Sumatra for a decade. If you are too interested in supporting this work, please donate here.
We wish the International Rhino Foundation a Happy 30th Anniversary and look forward to working together to secure a future for Rhinos and people.