Platinum Rhino, the worlds largest captive rhino breeding operation sold to africaparksnetwork! (update, instagram embed did not work)

Hearing this news, one might think “great, another 10-20 rhino”? Think again.

Platinum rhino holds as much as 15% of the current wild population in its operation -2000 individuals. Here is an instagram on the news!

This could be great! Current rhino numbers are estimated to be in the low 2000, down 79% since 2011. Releasing the whole herd back into the Kruger could allow numbers a sizable boost, and rapidly move the kruger back towards its former stronghold of the white rhino. However, in the first half of 2023 over 200 rhino were poached from the Kruger, suggesting that this is not going to be easy.

Unfortunately, the Kruger is already one of the best preserved large reserves in the world. Thankfully, rhino horn has dropped in value from its peak in 2012 of $65,000 per kg, down to a current $8000 per kg. It would be good to depress this further, however the risks for the poacher are very high: not only are many poachers killed by the rhino, they are also often killed by other wildlife such as lions – and the Kruger has a sizable number of man-eating specialists.

I suspect the organization will spread the rhino around, across many of their reserves. Hopefully the recognition that farms like this make no sense, will allow them to thrive back in the wild.

Education is still needed in China, Vietnam and elsewhere. Rhino horn is the same substance as your finger-nails, Keratin. Consuming it will make no difference to any medical condition, science has tried to show any positive health benefit, and can see nothing scientific – at best a placebo effect.

Below, is a video about this farm, 6 years ago back in its heyday. Hopefully, all these rhino can recover white rhino populations far and wide.

Indian Greater one horned rhino

Indian greater one horned rhinoceros

Native to the Indian sub-continent, it is listed on the red list, and is only found across 20,000 square kilometres, or 7,700 square miles This is a smaller area than the size of Wales. Unfortunately, as you can see, the rhino does not roam this whole area, to the contrary, it is only found in a few small areas.

At the last full assessment (August 2018) the population was estimated to at 3588 individuals (recent estimates suggest a population of over 4000, but I will use the numbers from 5 years ago, as it is unclear how this growth has been split within the sites). Of this number 2939 were in India, witht he rest in Nepal. In 2009 2048 of these rhinos lived in Kaziranga national park. 

Other places include translocated 18 rhinos from Kaziranga National Park and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary to Assam’s Manas National Park on the India-Bhutan border. As of 2017, Manas was home to 29 rhinos.

As of August 2018, the global population was estimated to comprise 3,588 individuals, including 2,939 individuals in India and 649 in Nepal Kaziranga National Park alone had an estimated population of 2,048 rhinos in 2009. Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam has the highest density of Indian rhinos in the world with 84 individuals in an area of 38.80 km(14.98 sq mi) in 2009.

Sumatran Rhino

Sumatran Rhinoceros Photo Credit Kat Jenkinson

Sumatran Rhinoceros

Sumatran rhino is also known as a  hairy rhinoceros or Asian two-horned rhinoceros. Like the Javan rhino, the Sumatran rhino once had a range which covered a far larger area: rainforests, swamps and cloud forests in India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and southwestern China, particularly in Sichuan.

There are still 3 on the island of Borneo, as you can see, the map still lists a population on the Malay peninsula though it is thought that this group is extinct. The 3 subspecies are:

  • The Sumatran island population: Western (34-47 individuals). This is unfortunately split in to 4 populations
  • The Borneo island population: Eastern (may be as low as 3). This was only discovered in 2016 in            East Kalimantan, after the population in Sabah, Malaysia (northern part of the island) was declared extinct in 2015
  • The mainland population: Northern (this is thought to be extinct as of 2010, but it is possible that a small group remain.
The Sumatran rhino spends most of its life alone, except for courtship and raising of young. It is more vocal than other rhino species, as well as communicating through marking soil with its feet, twisthing saplings into patterns, and leaving excrement. the species is much better studied than the similarly hard to see or find, for the Javan rhinoceros, in part because of a program which bought 40 Sumatran rhino into captivity in an attempt to preserve the species. Though a number of rhinos died once at the various destinations, and no offspring were produced for 20 years.

 

Only four areas are known to contain Sumatran rhinoceros: Bukit Barisan Selatan National park, Gunung Leuser national park, and Way Kambas National park on Sumatra, and on Borneo west of Samarindah.

We hope to be able to list trekking for seeing animals like this in the future, do get in touch if you work in this field.

Javan Rhino

Javan Rhinoceros

Javan rhino are on the verge of extinction. They are currently restricted to the island of Java in Indonesia. Unfortunately, this is a bigger issue than a rare species that is likely to vanish from Java in the near future.

Up until the middle of the 1800, this rhinoceros species was found Java and Sumatra and onto the mainland of Southeast Asia and Indochina, northwest into East India, Bhutan, and the south of China.

Now, one might argue that many species had wider ranges 150 years ago, but the Javan rhino only declared extinct in Vietnam, back in 2010. In other words, just 13 years ago this species lost its last hold on the Asian mainland. Their closest relative is the Indian greater one-horned rhino (though this is not a recent split, they are separate species).

Now they are restricted to one national park in Java which sits on the far western tip. Here, lies the Ujung Kulon national park, a wilderness covering 1206km2 (466miles2) though 443km2 (171miles2) of that is marine. In this wilderness, roams the last Javan rhinos on the planet. It is currently thought that there are 74 of them in this area. It should be noted that the population has grown since the below video was made – mentions the population as 73.

Furthermore, the Javan and Sumatran Rhino species are not closely related, indeed with the Sumatran Rhino, it is thought to be more closely related to the African rhino, rather than the Asian Rhino species.

Below is an incredibly rare bit of footage of Javan rhino in their small patch of remaining wilderness, from a charity called SAFE (Saving Animals From Extinction).

Other animals found here include 35 endemic mammal species can be found in the park, including the banteng, silvery gibbon, Javan lutung, Crab-eating macaque, Javan leopard, Sumatran dhole, Java mouse-deer, Javan rusa, fishing can and smoothcoated otter. There are also 72 species of reptiles and amphibians and 240 species of birds

All rhino species of the world

Rhino have been hit hard in the last few decades. These species are all of the currently surviving species of wild rhino. Indeed, no species of rhino have been lost in modern times – in recent times the woolly rhino was lost. Further back, there are dozens of rhino species which are only known from fossils, with as many as 45-50 different species in the Americas alone.

There are links for the black and white rhino species, as these are found in the savannah ecosystems that we have listed, however, we will add more over time as we make contact with people in the field.

aaa Victoria falls national park, part of the KAZA transfrontier park

Victoria Falls national park, Zimbabwe, Part of KAZA transfrontier park

One of natures greatest spectacles, the Victoria falls lie within the national park that takes its name, and in turn is part of the vast Kalahari Zambezi Transfrontier park. The area around the falls contains a wealth of wildlife, Covering a total area of 56 000 hectares, both parks lie on the southern bank of the Zambezi River which forms the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. There are a number of picnic and fishing sites available. Activities include guided tours, walks, day and sunset cruises, game drives and adventure activities.

The Rainforest – Here visitors can see unique flora and fauna. Bird species and small mammals may be spotted beneath the forest canopy whilst following the paths through the groves of Date Palm, Fig and Mahogany.

The Game Park – Elephant, Lion, Buffalo, Leopard and White Rhino (the Big Five) can be seen in the park as well as herds of Eland, Sable Antelope, Zebra, Giraffe, Waterbuck and Kudu amongst other smaller species. The Zambezi River is known for its Bream and Tiger Fishing. There are two game drive routes, one accessed through the main gate and the other from just outside town on the Bulawayo road.

The Indonesian rhinos that once roamed across much of Asia

The wildlife of Indonesia now often looks like relatively unique to those islands. This is not the natural state of affairs. 60,000 years ago, a cousin of the orangutan lived on the mainland. Unfortunately, what appears clear, is that humans were responsible for the extinction of these animals as with so many more.

There are 2 species of Indonesian Rhino, the Javan rhino and the Sumatran rhino. Now it should be noted that these names are not an indication of a small range (or if it is, it is wrong) in reality, both rhino species were far more widely spread. Indeed mainland specimens lived within the 21st century.

Continue reading “The Indonesian rhinos that once roamed across much of Asia”

African Savannah

African Savannah animals

The aim here is not to give you the number of every species that exists in each reserve. Rather, the aim is to give you a rough idea of the health and size of each reserve. In places where there are private reserves on the edge of a larger reserve, complete ecosystem numbers will be given. Please note that they will not be precise, as even straight after a thorough count numbers are only estimates – furthermore, some reserves do not publicize their numbers.

The grid of animals that I have included above are as follows (below):

African wild dog Black rhino White rhino(Really wide rhino) Elephant Buffalo Giraffe Zebra Cheetah Hippopotamus Lion Hyena Leopard

This is going to be the standard animals for Savannah ecosystems within Africa, however each different Biome will have different species so there will be a variety of these pages. I will give you brief information on each. In the long-run we hope to have animal pages for each and these will be linked from the Bold animal names. Those not bold not not yet have a link page. At the bottom of each animals page is a list of places which you can book to see the animal in question; each currently have at least a few choices, but I hope to be able to direct to many more as time moves forwards.

African wild dog (or sometimes known as Cape hunting dog or painted dog). This animal is an incredible sighting if you get lucky. Now, they live at low densities, so are generally found in the largest reserves. If a reserve still has African wild dog, it is clear that the reserve is in pretty good health (usually). Furthermore, as they are very susceptible to various diseases that domestic dogs can carry (such as canine distemper) – this wiped out the population in the Serengeti in 1995. Thankfully, wild dogs have returned to the Serengeti, though currently only 100 or so are in the ecosystem – meaning it is unlikely that you will see them here. Any sighting is a wonderful thing. Member of ecotourism big 7

Black and White Rhino Two different species, Black rhino had a far larger range, unfortunately they are highly endangered across most of their range. White rhino, once found in central Africa (there are now only 2 of these animals left, held at Ol Pejeta conservancy in Kenya) are now only found in Southern Africa – South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe. The Kruger, once hosted as much as 10,000 or more white rhino, but now only have about 3000. Note: white rhino appears to be a mistranslation from the Africaans Weit, meaning wide, these rhino are not white. Pictures are Black then white rhino. Member of big 5 and ecotourism big 7

Elephant One of the species that so many people visit Africa for, the Savannah African elephant is doing okay, though the populations is far below historical levels. Places like the Selous (now much of this reserve is Nyerere National park) lost perhaps 80% of there historical elephant population. Encouragingly, if the poaching stops the population often rapidly recovers. The African forest elephant has seen horrific poaching over the last few decades, and without a rapid change this species might be heading for extinction (the African forest elephant is closer related to the Mammoth than the African Savannah elephant. Member of the big 5 and ecotourism big7.

Buffalo: A member of the big 5, the buffalo is essentially a wild cattle species. They are a member of the big 5 and ecotourism big 7. The big 5 is so named because these were the most dangerous animals to hunt on foot. Buffalo are often the species which you are likely to have encounters with if you go walking on foot.

Lion Often referred to as the King of the Jungle (despite not being found in jungles), is generally considered the apex predator. Certainly a wonderful thing to see, never-the-less they do not get their own way all the time. The population of Lions in Africa has seen precipice falls in the last century, and this has not stopped. Tourism is one tool we have to give them financial value to those who share their space with them. Member of the big 5 and ecotourism big 7

Giraffe: While this is a species that is found in the majority of Southern and Eastern African reserves, they are officially classed as endangered, as their population is currently falling so fast. The selous in Tanzania is nicknamed the Griraffe park as there are so many of them.

Zebra are also found in most reserves in Africa, though the number of them is still of interest.

Cheetah Like African Wild dog are a key indicator of the health of the ecosystem. Living at low densities in most reserves (except in places like the Serengeti plains). These are rare sightings, and most reserves do not have many cheetah. Indeed of all the big species, the cheetah is one of the few predators who do better outside reserves.

Hippopotamus: This is another species that does reasonably well outside protected reserves, but their population has fallen fast over the last few years.

Lion Lions are a very clear indication of the health of each ecosystem. If there is a significant population of Lion, then it is a large reserve and therefore there is plenty of space for other species. Check our links at the bottom of the lion page for some of the best place to see them.

Hyena There are thought to be more than 100,000 spotted hyena in Africa, making them the most numerous predator on the continent. They are exciting animals to see, and their call is often one of the species that you hear from your campsite – the weird rising whoop which is the contact call they use between them. Watch the video below to see what I mean. The advantage of the population size is that you are likely to find them in most wilderness areas. Brown hyenas are also widely found, never the less, as they do not do well in close proximity to spotted hyenas which means they are more often found on the edge of reserves and outside them.

Leopard The last member of the big 5 and Ecotourism big 7, the Leopard is a fascinating species. A solitary animal (except mothers with their young) they are the only big cat, or indeed member of the big 5 that is reguarly found outside protected reserves, though this is decreasing over time. A fantastic sighting, they can be very hard to find, and sightings in big reserves are usually very crowded. Generally found near river courses, as these are the places where large trees are found, allowing the Leopard to rest out of danger.

Poachers killed 24 rhinos in the last two weeks of 2021, that is the equivalent of 1000 a year

Rhino poaching is devastating rhino populations across Africa and Asia. Many species such as the Indonesian species are already lost or on the brink. African species are not far behind.

If you have a strong constitution, do look up images. They are not nice particularly if you have seen this animal alive, as such I have not included a picture.

Currently there are about 16,000 wild rhinos in South Africa, out of a worldwide population that might not number more than 30,000.

9 people have been arrested for this poaching. Now it is clear that the rhino poaching is down from its peak, never-the-less what is necessary is to kill the demand for rhino horn. Currently, an Asian rhino horn can be worth $400,000 with an African rhino horn being worth $20,000. Given that the average annual salary in South Africa is $2000, even $20,000 can be a life changing amount.

It is highly likely that the end of ecotourism during the epidemic is responsible for the uptick in rhino poaching, as people become desperate with their income having vanished.

White Rhino

White rhino

In Africa there has been horrible decline of rhinos. The northern white rhino was as recent as 1960 still living in numbers over 2000. Found through  Chad, the Central African Republic, South-western Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and North-western Uganda. Unfortunately this population has since crashed, and while they are not yet extinct there are so few left it is unlikely to recover. Embryos have been frozen in the hope that in the near future Southern white rhinos could host these.

Unfortunately, while the southern white rhino is doing far better with 18,000 (only a 12% decline in the last decade) it is not healthy and at the rate that poaching has occurred it’s not inconceivable that this population could be largely poached out of existence in a decade. In 2021, 457 rhinos were poached in South Africa with 77 lost from the Kruger. While this is horrific, it would suggest that Kruger is finally managing to protect its rhinos more effectively. Currently only 30% of Southern white rhino live in Kruger, which in the past this percentage was far higher (as high as 80-90%). Hopefully in the future rhino poaching will go back to being a thing of the past – while Kruger has the space, it cannot stop hundreds of determined poachers, while smaller reserves can do this more easily.

In the early 1900s, the Southern white rhino population fell to 50-100, thankfully this direction changed with (they are hoping) in August this year. The problem remains, that despite it having no medicinal benefit, if a rhino horn is valuable then people living near the breadline in the surrounding area will look on it with envy. Even if locals do not do it, it is worthwhile for criminal gangs. At the moment, white rhino horn can be sold for around $60,000 per pound, and an average white rhino horn weighs just short of 9 pounds. This means that each white rhino has half a million dollars attached to its nose. 

One important thing to note, is that the name white rhino does not come from the colour of its skin. Indeed, with a white and a black rhino standing next to each other it would be hard to notice a difference in the colour of the skin. Instead, it gets its name from the afrikaans word weit which means wide – the white rhino has a wide mouth for grazing, while the black rhino has a pointed mouth for browsing.

Either place gives you a good chance to see rhino in their home.

As time passes, we hope to add more destinations for each species. There is a list of all articles on this species below the destinations available.

Note:  to look at the rest of the rhino family click here

Limpopo Transfrontier park including Kruger sabi sands and other conservation areas
Greater Serengeti
See Animals Wild