|"RETTET DIE NASHÖRNER" e.V.|
Kilian's project of preservation of the african black rhinos
"RETTET DIE NASHÖRNER" e.V.
c/o Kilian Hermann
Telefon +49 / 89 / 6 09 71 62
Fax +49 / 89 / 66 56 08 52
About the Rhinos:
Annual report 2005
It has been 9 years now since an animal has been shot in the Ngorongoro Crater. Two new animals from south Africa provided the small survivor group with "new blood". But setbacks continue to occur. In 2001 three crater rhinos succumbed to a new disease. An interdisciplinary team assembled by the FZS was studying this case and was looking for ways of preventing such tragedies in the future.
In the bordering Serengeti arena, the rhino population had dwindled to two animals until a bull from Ngorongoro joined the two Serengeti femals. Now 12 rhinos live in the arena surrounding the Michael Grzimek Station and 24 in the Ngorongoro crater.The FZS is helping to provide long-term moitoring of this small remaining population.
Since 2002, Africa´s most experienced rhino expert, Dr. Peter Morkel, has been directing and coordinating all FZS rhino projects.
He also works for rhino conservation in Namibia and South Africa.
Rhinos - to valuable to survive ?
Two tons of energy and a horn dagger reminiscent of the dinosaur age, and all of that on four massive legs, wich elehatly bounce the colossus up to a pace that would beat a hundred yard sprinter: those are the characteristics of a beast that is often seen as a symbol for power and discipline.
However, it's the very horn that makes the rhinos invincible for even a lion that has sealed its fute. After man´s greed for the powers of its horn had been roused, status symbols, superstition and unscrupulous persons drove the rhino population in the last century to the very verge of extinction. Great efforts in this millennium will be necessary if rhinos are to continue to exist in the wild.
Around 1970 there were still 65.000 of the black African species, now their numbers have been shot down to under 2.000. In Kenya alone poachers have wiped aut 90 % of the rhino population. The only exceptions are the game reserves in Namibia and South Africa which are reporting positive news. Nowhere else in the world are so many rhinos. Due to great effort, finacial as well, there are now 20 black rhinos (Diceros bicornis michaeli) in the Ngorongoro Crater and the bordering Serengeti National Park in Tanzania.
Regrettably approximately US$ 600 - 750 are still being paid for a kilogram of rhino horn. In the Middle East, especially Jemen, a dagger sheath is a status symbol.
In the Far East it is used in alternative medicine as an aphrodisiac and as ague powder. Very much to the disadvantage of the rhinos, the number of people who can afford such expensive "medicine" is also increasing. In just the last 25 years three categories of Asian rhinos were almost exterminated. Although the numers of Indian rhinos are recovering, there are only about 15 of the related Java species - for all purposes extinct.
Black rhino ( Diceros bicornis )
White rhinos are not white. Black rhinos are not black. Instead, both are grey. The name arose as a logical distinction between the smaller "black rhino" and the significantly larger "white rhino."
Unlike the white rhino, the upper lip of the black rhino is prehensile and adapted to gathering leaves. As the food habits of the two species are different, the can occupy the same area without rivalry. Black rhinos are solitary except during mating periods and when mothering their calves. Calves follow their mothers or walk by their side for 2 to 3 years.
Black rhinos have disappeared from most of their original habitat and today can only be found in protected regions of Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania and Cameroon.
There are four subspecies of black rhinos, of which the southern from (D.b.minor) is the most numerous with almost 1400 specimens. The western subspecies (D.b.longipes) is the most endangered with approximately only ten specimens remaining in Cameroon.
There are 230 specimens (of the eastern and southern subspecies) in captivity. Thirteen of these can be found at Dvur Kara`love Zoo in the Czech Republic.Altogether, 24 young have been born in the zoo, including the first calf in the world to be born into the fifth generation of captivity. Berlin Zoo maintains the international studbook.
Western Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis longipes):
This subspecies is extremely rare. Once upon a time, the Western Black lived extensively throughout the savannahs of West Central Africa. Today, only seven to ten animals still live in Cameroon. Because these few animals are geographically separated into small groups and there is probably no contact between the groups, then this subspecies must be very close to extinction.
Eastern Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis michaeli)
This subspecies was once common from Southern Sudan across Ethiopia and Somalia to Tanzania. Today, only the numbers in Kenya are worth mentioning, as well as a few animals in Tanzania and Rwanda. The rhinos of the Serengeti, as well as my "foster rhino," which lives in the Ngorongoro Crater, belong to this subspecies.
South Central Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis minor):
This is the most widespread subspecies of Black Rhinoceros today. It lives from Tanzania to South Africa with the largest populations found in South Africa. It has long been assumed that the animal has died out in Botswana, Angola and Zambia - though perhaps Zambia can soon be struck from this list.
Southwestern Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis bicornis):
There are still several hundred animals of this subspecies living in Namibia. A few animals may also survive in Angola. Once upon a time it was also common throughout Botswana and South Africa where, in the last few years, small populations have been reintroduced.
Weight: males 900 to1300 kg; females 800 to 1.000 kg
Height in shoulder: 1,4 to 1,6 m
Number of horns: two, record length of first horn 120 cm
Pregnancy: 450 to 500 days
Weight at birth: 30 to 45 kg
Sexual maturity: 4 years (females) to 8 years (males)
Habitat: Open bush, savanna
Food: tree and bush leaves (mostly acacia), twigs, creepers
Life span: up to 40 years in captivity
White rhino ( Square-lipped )
The white rhino is the larger of the two African species, rivalled in size among the rhinos only by the Indian. As white rhinos feed on grass, their broad upper lip is adapted to grazing (hence the name "square-lipped"). The "white" description is a mistranslation of the Boer word for "white," meaning wide. There is no colour difference between African rhinos.
White rhinos are more territorial than black rhinos. Units consist of a territorial male and subordinated males and females with calves. Their relatively small territories are about three square km, but the actual size depends on the quality and availability of food. A female's territory can range from six to 20 square km and can overlap the territories of several males. Pregnant females leave their groups shortly before birth and stay away for several days afterwards. The calf usually walks in front of this mother and is driven away at the age of two to three.
The northern white rhino (Ceratotherium.simum.cottoni)
used to be wide spread throughout the open grasslands of central and eastern Africa.This subspecies was once to be found throughout Uganda, Chad, Sudan, Central African Republic and in the Congo. Although there are occasionally unconfirmed sightings in Sudan, it is only certain that a few animals still survive in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 1985, 13 Northern White Rhinoceroses lived in the Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Kongo (former Zaire). Through personnel and financial support from the WWF and ZGF the population has now increased to 36.
The civil war, which has raged since 1998, has meant that minimal work has since been conducted on this project, while at the same time poaching has increased significantly. In April 2000, between 24 and 30 animals were observed during a surveillance flight. The limited flight time meant no further details could be obtained. According to latest reports (2004), poachers have increased their activity in the region.
Ten specimens are kept in captivity, of which nine are owned by and seven are kept at the Dvur Kralove Zoo, the only institution to have bred this rhino (four surviving calves).
The International Studbook is kept by Berlin Zoo.
The southern white rhino (Ceratotherium.simum.simum)
lives in southern Africa. At the turn of the last century, it was close to extinction. The population was even smaller than the current population of northern white rhinos. Only some 20 specimens remained. A concerted action, undertaken largely by white farmers, helped save the species. Today the southern white is the most numerous of all rhinos with an estimated population of 9,000. Apart from South Africa (where 7,500 animals can be found), southern white rhinos are found in Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Swaziland. Some have also been relocated to Kenya. Altogether, there are 765 specimens in captivity. In the Czech republic, only Usti nad Labem Zoo (three births) and Dvur Kralove Zoo (three births) have successfully breed the southern white.
The International Studbook is maintained Berlin Zoo.
Weight: males 1.800 to 2.400 kg; females 1.800 to 2.000 kg
Height in shoulder: 1,5 to 1,8 m
Number of horns: two, record length of first horn 158 cm, average 65 cm
Gestation: 480 to 514 (548) days with average 490 days
Weight at birth: 40 to 80 kg
Sexual maturity: six years (females) to ten years (males)
Life span: up to 45 years in captivity
Greater Indian rhino( Rhinoceros unicornis)
Unlike in African rhinos, the incisors of Indian rhinos are well developed (with the bottom cutters turned upwards ). Their upper lip has a finger-like shape.Indian rhinos are solitary by nature and occupy territorial ranges of approximately 6 sq. km.
Females meet males only in estrous and mating periods. A female in heat first provokes males by very intensive whistling; then males chase their incisors in fights with each other.
This species was the first victim of the Asian rhino horn trade and is extinct throughout most of its original habitat. Today it survives in several reserves in India and Nepal, of which the Indian Kaziranga is the most important. Floods caused by the deforestation of the Himalayas now present a danger for rhinos that actually seems to exceed the impact of poaching.
Altogether, some 140 specimens are kept in captivity. Three of them can be found at Dvur Kralove Zoo, which is the only Zoo countrywide to reproduce this species ( 3 calves have been born there so far ). The international studbook is kept by Basle Zoo.
Weight: males 2000 to 2500 kg, females 1700 to 2000 kg
Height in shoulder: 1,7 to 1,9 m (the tallest of all rhinos)
Number of horns: one, record length 61 cm.
Pregnancy: 480 to 516 days
Weight at birth: 55 to 81 kg
Sexual maturity: 4 years (femal) to 9 years (males)
Habitat: tropical rainforest with adjacent water, marshlands, and irrigated valleys.
Food: grass, aquatic plants and cultivated rice crop.
Live span: 40 to 45 years.
Wild population: in the old days 500.000 specimens, 1960- 750, 1970 - less than 1200, 1993 - 2000, 1996- 2200, 2000 - 2482.
Javan rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus)
Although in its appearance it`s almost a smaller copy of Indian rhinos, its skin folds are less developed and its head and horn are relatively smaller. Habits of this rhino remain almost completely unknow- inhabiting impenetrable forests, the rhino is extremely difficult to wacht, It is assumed to be solitary animal.
Of the three known subspecies of the Javan rhino, one (R.s.inermis) is already extinct. Approximately 43 to 57 specimens of another subspecies (R. s. sondaicus) today live in the Javan Ujung Kulon reserve. The Javan rhino was also recently rediscovered in Vietnam where less than 10 specimens survive (R. s. annamiticus). The total population probably consists of no more than eight animals. In all, 22 Javan rhinos have been kept in captivity with the last dying in 1907. No young have ever been produced in captivity.
Weight: 1000 to 1400 kg
Height in shoulder: 1,4 to ,5 m
Number of horns: one, record length 81 cm.
Pregnancy: approximately 480 days
Weight at birth: unknow
Sexual maturity: probably 4 years (femal) to 8 years (males)
Habitat: tropical rainforest up to 2000 m above sea.
Food: twigs, leaves, fruits, creepers and bushes.
Wild population: 1960 - 24 to 48 specimens, 1967 - approx. 25, 1975 - 45 to 54, 1981 - around 60, 1991 - 50 to 70, 1999 - approx. 60 ( the data from before 1999 don`t include the "secret" Vietnamese population-see below).
Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis )
The Sumatra rhino is considerably smaller than other rhinos, has two horns and a body covered with stiff skin. Little biological research has been conducted regarding this solitary resident of impenetrable forests.
The present habitat of the Sumatra Rhino consists of several isolated areas. In Sumatra, there are approximately 150 specimens remaining, while less than 100 animals of the Malaysian subspecies (D.s. sumatrensis) can still be found on the Malaysian Peninsula.
The surviving number of the Borneo subspecies (D.s. harrissoni) in Indonesian Borneo (Kalimantan) is unknown. In Malaysian Borneo, only some 50 animals survive in Sabah province. As few as 17 specimens have ever been kept captive, of which three have been kept ex situ and 14 in the original habitat. Only one calf was born in captivity, to a female who arrived pregnant from the wild.
Weight: 500 to 820 kg
Height in shoulder: 1,25 to 1,4 m
Number of horns: two, record length of first horn 82 cm.
Pregnancy: approximately 400 days
Weight at birth: 35 kg
Habitat: tropical rainforest, especially mountain areas.
Food: twigs, leaves, fruits, creepers and bushes.
Live span: 35 years
Wild population:1995- 390 to 540, 2000- around 300.
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