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Protecting Rhinos

by David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation
Protecting Rhinos
Rhinos - Gareth Thomas
Rhinos - Gareth Thomas

In June this year the Namibian Government reported a sudden surge in poaching with the discovery of 11 poached rhino carcasses in one national park alone, in the space of just two weeks. Further down the continent in South Africa, 259 rhinos have been poached for their horns this year alone, according to the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment.

This isn’t the first time a surge like this has occurred. Less than a decade ago rhinos were slaughtered at an alarming rate across Africa, starting with the large population of rhinos in South Africa, then moving north towards Namibia and neighbouring countries. With well-funded professional poaching syndicates operating unchecked, our frontline teams provide vital protection to ensure that history does not repeat itself.

Namibia holds the last stronghold of desert-adapted black rhinos, protected by our partners Save the Rhino Trust. David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DWSF) has long supported safeguarding this truly free-roaming wild population of black rhino, the last of their kind in Namibia. With a potential crisis looming, every single rhino counts. For a species that has existed for over 40 million years, we cannot sit idle and watch them fall into the history books. Our frontline teams are the gatekeepers to stopping poachers from reaching rhinos, providing vital protection to this already vulnerable sub-species.

Through continuing your support to DSWF and to rhinos, you will be directly protecting Namibia’s last stronghold of desert-adapted black rhinos through:

  • Supporting anti-poaching and rhino protection initiatives on the frontline
  • Giving rangers adequate kit to patrol and gather intelligence effectively, including uniform, boots, and GPS handsets
  • Working to influence policy and ensure the toughest legislation to end the trade in rhino horn
  • Supporting vital research and data collection to monitor and enhance survival
  • Educating children and local communities on the importance of rhino conservation and their benefit to the environment

With your help we can put a stop to this rise in rhino poaching and ensure that the desert-adapted black rhino lives on for generations to come.

New rhino population estimates have recently been released and DSWF are saddened to see the continued ecline in the global rhino population due to relentless poaching and habitat loss. Population estimates for all five rhino species have been updated by the IUCN and devestatingly shown that collectively the world rhino population has decreased by 3.7% in the last year. With an estimated global wild rhino population of just 26,272. Making it more important now more than ever for DSWF to continue to fight, protect and engage on behalf of rhinos across the world. 

Find out more about our work with Rhinos

Rainbow Rhino - Mark Cawardine
Rainbow Rhino - Mark Cawardine
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Rhino, Credit Skyhawk Photography
Rhino, Credit Skyhawk Photography

Thank you for supporting David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) Protecting Rhinos.

Black Rhinos are critically endangered with the current global population no more than 5,600. They remain under threat from both natural and human induced factors. These threats include poaching, habitat encroachment through human and livestock use of the rhino breeding zones, increased mining exploration activity, lack of quality forage and water in times of prevailing drought and human-induced disturbance primarily through uncontrolled tourism.

Largely due to successful collaboration with the Namibian government an exciting rhino range expansion project is underway in Namibia. The expansion represents a significant addition to black rhino habitat and further secures Namibia’s status as the global leader in black rhino conservation. Our ground-based conservation partners in Namibia protect a vast 25,000km2 area in the Western Kunene and Northern Erongo regions where due to the outstanding efforts of rangers on the ground they have seen an absence of rhino poaching since August 2020.

With the vision to ensure an increasing population of black rhino across an expanded range with zero poaching, ongoing funding from DSWF to our ground-based conservation partner is required to:

  • Provide monitoring and assessment of movement, distribution, and condition of the desert-adapted black rhino population in protected regions.
  • Collaborate with law enforcement partners for security related activities and to monitor human activities which could impact rhino bearing areas.
  • Assist in criminal investigations through working with the police, prosecutors and judiciary to collect and present evidence and DNA sampling in rhino-related court cases.

Though this vital work it is expected that the black rhino population will remain stable or increase across the landscape with the hope that 75% of all the rhinos across the landscape would be sighted monthly by a member of the ranger team. Poaching will remain at a minimal level and if poaching occurs, criminal cases will be thoroughly investigated leading to quicker arrests and convictions for poachers.

Find out more about our work with Rhinos

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) would love to keep you up-to-date with how your generous support is making a difference, share exciting wildlife conservation stories and tell you about forthcoming campaigns, fundraising initiatives and events. If you would like to hear more from us, please let us know via our online form: Stay In Touch

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Image Credit: Save The Rhino Trust
Image Credit: Save The Rhino Trust

Thank you for supporting David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation through GlobalGiving.

Over the past six months, our ground-based conservation partners have continued to work around the clock to prevent rhino-poaching in Namibia and to protect one the world’s last remaining desert-adapted black rhino populations.

With the support of DSWF, the anti-poaching and monitoring teams operating in the Kunene and Erongo regions have logged a huge 38,155 km of vehicle and foot patrols over the past six-months. Their presence acts as a key deterrent to ‘would be poachers’ in the area.

The last rhino poaching incident in the region was in August 2020 meaning that almost 18 months have now passed without an incident. This is a significant decline in comparison to the 2014-2016 period where 30 animals were lost to poachers. These statistics highlight the direct impact of DSWF funding which is allowing the stable growth of the black rhino population nationally across Namibia.

In Asia our, our ground-based conservation partners are working to secure the future of the one horned rhino in Assam. During the past 6 months, DSWF have continued to support two K9 units in Assam which provide critical support to law enforcement efforts.

  • Babli (the dog) and Goura (the handler) have been operating in the Orang National Park which covers 78km² of prime rhino habitat. Babli has given some vital clues to forest officials on stolen camera traps alongside two illegal killings of wild boar.
  • Jubi (the dog) and Sanatan Mali (the handler) have been stationed in the Baguri Range of Kaziranga.

Combined, the two dog units have patrolled a total of 540km of prime rhino habitat. Alongside the K9 units, DSWF have supported field agents to continue their visits to field sites in order to gather information and monitor the movement of suspects involved in wildlife crime. Nine reports have been shared with enforcement agencies leading to eight arrests of individuals involved in wildlife crime.

DSWF have also continued our long-term support of an education and youth engagement programme which promotes coexistence between humans and rhinos. During the reporting period, 13 workshops were held reaching over 380 children.

The Bigger Picture

Over the past 12 months, DSWF have continued our 37-year legacy of providing unwavering support to protect some of the world’s most endangered species. Over the course of 2022 we will continue to support our long-term conservation partners to protect wildlife, tackle wildlife crime and reduce poaching threats alongside engaging and supporting more community groups working to protect wildlife.

Thanks to your help, we have granted over £11 million in direct conservation support to turn the tide on extinction.

On behalf of everyone at DSWF and the wildlife we fight to protect, Thank You.

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Thank you for supporting David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) through GlobalGiving. As well as providing you with your bi-annual rhino project report, we would also like to inform you about an exciting new campaign to make your support go further.

This week, GlobalGiving are hosting their annual Little by Little campaign, this means that all your donations donated through GlobalGiving to David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation from Monday 13th to Friday 17th September will receive 50% match funding from GlobalGiving. So, if you donate £20 to Rhinos today, we will receive £30 in total!

For this campaign, DSWF are seeking your generous support to help protect Namibia’s desert-adapted black rhino population. This is a vital conservation project which has seen some wonderful results in the past year. However, rhino populations are still on the decline with less than 30,000 remaining in the wild across five species and it is vital we continue our work to protect them.

Between 2018 and 2020, our ground-based conservation partners recorded almost 30 months free of rhino killings in the Kunene and Erongo regions of Namibia. An outstanding achievement. Unfortunately, four rhinos have been killed recently largely attributed to the collapse of tourism and livelihoods due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As such, DSWF funding has been directed towards enhancing anti-poaching patrol efforts and increasing team field days and foot patrols to prevent further killings. Our funding last year supported just under 35,000km of ranger patrols and led to 27 arrests including all the individuals involved in the recent poaching incidents as well as the buyer.

DSWF has also continued to fund an ongoing rhino monitoring assessment. Recent reports show a ground-breaking record of more than 4,000 individual rhino sightings over a 12-month period. This data collection is developing further understanding of rhinos in Namibia and are helping to inform and improve conservation strategies to better protect this iconic species.

In India, we have continued to support our ground-based conservation partners in and around the rhino-bearing areas of Assam. DSWF have provided essential field gear to 254 Village Defence Patrol Members. These defence patrols help to deter poachers entering national parks and contributed towards another whole year of zero rhino poaching incidents in three of Assam’s four rhino bearing areas. In addition, DSWF supported three workshops with border security and legal professionals contributing to the arrest of 37 suspects who engaged in wildlife crime and the seizure of 18 weapons.

We are hugely grateful for your support in helping us turn the tide on extinction. Thank you.

Terms and Conditions of Campaign: 

  • Donations up to the amount of $50 / £36 will be match funded by 50%.
  • Only one donation per unique donor will be match funded.
  • Campaign runs from Monday 13th to Friday 17th September.
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Credit Gareth Thomas
Credit Gareth Thomas

Black rhinos are critically endangered, and it is estimated that there are fewer than 5,630 black rhinos left in the wild. As recently as the 1960s, it was estimated that over 100,000 black rhinos were still roaming Africa, but due to poaching and inadequate field protection these numbers have dwindled.

At DSWF we believe that it is vitally important to raise environmental awareness in children from an early age and it is our aim to bring conservation issues into schools and to individuals globally. Our conservation partners, Save The Rhino Trust in Namibia, were recently able to bolster their community outreach programmes with the addition of two new projects, Reading with Rhinos and Wild Rhino Experience which focus on children at primary school level through the provision of reading material, whilst also promoting the work that rangers and field staff do in conservation.

The work of DSWF and our ground-based conservation partners also include monitoring, training and research focused on desert-adapted black rhino. The overall goal of this project is to generate a stable or increasing population of black rhino with zero poaching.

To learn more about our conservation work with Rhinos, please visit our website.

Thank you for supporting us in our mission to turn the tide on extinction. 

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Organization Information

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

Location: Guildford, Surrey - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @DSWFwildlife
Project Leader:
Theo Bromfield
Guildford, Surrey United Kingdom
$2,246 raised of $15,000 goal
 
36 donations
$12,754 to go
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