Many stories of wildlife conservation aren’t positive. Highlighting species in decline isn’t a happy task, as so many of our planet’s most diverse species face extinction. And it’s important to do this so that we take action and spread the word. But this month, we and the International Rhino Foundation (IRF) are focusing on the positives. Through hard work and collaboration, species like the greater one-horned rhino have been brought back from the brink.
This month, we are delighted to celebrate their successes and Go Wild For Rhinos! It’s time to take a moment and think about what conservation can achieve. When we work together and care for the other animals we share a planet with, we create space for all of us to thrive.
The greater one-horned rhino is the second largest rhino species – but has the smallest habitat range. Found only in northern India and Nepal, they are named for having a single large horn, instead of the two horns found on most other rhino species. Javan rhinos also have one horn, but are much smaller in size. In the wild, you would often find them soaking themselves in water and grazing for plants below the surface.
At their most critical point, there were only 100 left in the world. Thankfully, the Indian & Nepalese governments took action. They created protected habitat in national parks and tried to protect the rhino population from poaching. And it started to work. By the 1980s, the population had grown to 1,500 individuals.
Since IRF joined the project, this number has risen to over 4,000. That’s an increase of 167% in 40 years. Hugely impressive.
International Rhino Foundation.
The International Rhino Foundation supports major conservation programs in more than ten countries, protecting all five species of rhino. They have worked in India to expand the population to other national parks, creating new crashes of rhinos – yes, a crash is the word for a group of rhinos. With the success of this, they are expanding their conservation program.
Rhinos are still vulnerable, especially while the tragic demand for rhino horn exists on the black market. While stopping individual poachers is admirable, the greatest impact is to deter people from considering rhino poaching at all. That’s why IRF are conducting training sessions for Indian forest guards and law enforcement – to increase the success of prosecutions of wildlife crime and give potential poachers reason to put down their weapons.
Equipping the right skills.
As long as rhino horn remains profitable, some poachers will try to hunt vulnerable species. At present, many wildlife crime cases don’t make it through court. This is due to a lack of understanding of current wildlife laws, and a lack of experience handling evidence and preparing for cases.
IRF partners with local legal experts and government agencies to conduct training sessions in protected areas. Rangers spend 2-3 days participating in a simulated poaching scenario with hands-on training. They learn how to collect evidence, investigate crime scenes, arrest suspects, and preparing the case for court. The previous sessions held last year in Assam, India were hugely popular, and over time will increase the rate of successful prosecutions for poaching.
How can we help?
Every month, LEX donates 1% to protect endangered species around the world. We are so proud that our donation will enable more legal training for the people on the front lines of wildlife conservation. In time, we hope to see a world where no one would risk poaching, and every rhino can live in peace and safety.
If you want to help, now is a great time to get involved, and have fun! Join Go Wild For Rhinos, and you can fundraise for all five species of rhino with a barbecue, party, or virtual happy hour. You’ll find great tips and recipes to get involved here. And of course, you can symbolically adopt a greater one-horned rhino to help to protect and care for them from across the world.
Huge thanks to our clients, supporters, and LEX team. Without you, we wouldn’t be able to support organizations like IRF and maintain our commitment to give back to endangered species.