Considering the perilous state of the world’s rhinos, and the utterly dire situation for several sub-species, giving rhinos their own year is pretty much the least we can do, but there it is.
Coinciding with World Environment Day (being celebrated in Rio), the government of Indonesia, in cooperation with a number of conservation groups, including WWF, has declared 5 June the start of the International Year of the Rhino.
WWF aims to prioritise protection, deter hunting, grow and improve habitats
- During this International Year of the Rhino, it is hoped that all rhino range states in Africa and Asia will join Indonesia and give priority to securing their rhino populations.
- There are ambitions to bring illegal hunting and trade, especially the illegal trade of rhino horn, under control by ensuring that effective deterrents are in place and enforced.
- It is also hoped that measures that encourage a rapid growth in rhino numbers will be taken.
- In Indonesia, extra action will be taken to translocate isolated individuals to actively managed protected areas and
- improve rhino habitats by removing invasive plant species and providing additional sources of water.
Though pressures on all rhinos are significant, two subspecies have gone extinct in the past 10 years in Cameroon and in Vietnam – the Northern white rhino, the mainland population of the Sumatran rhino. The Javan rhino are critically endangered.
Mongabay has a comprehensive overview of the threats that rhinos face worldwide, with attention to the different regions.
By Mat McDermott