- News &
How the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Wildlife Without Borders program is helping rhinos:
Creating an emergency response facility for rhino conservancies in Laikipia District, Kenya.
Improving rhino crime investigation and prosecution in Zimbabwe.
Improving effectiveness of Rhino Protection Units in Tabin Wildlife Reserve in Malaysia
|Rhinos are magnificent creatures: big, powerful, and charismatic. Unfortunately, these same qualities make them popular targets; rhino body parts are in high demand on the global black market. Rhino horns are used in Asian medicines, which are sold to consumers who believe these animal products convey strength, health and virility. Rhino horns are also carved for dagger handles as a coveted status symbol in the Middle East. The illegal trade in animal parts is a profitable business and the demand for these products creates an ongoing temptation for poachers.
All five species of rhino surviving in the wild today are
endangered under the Endangered Species Act and listed from Critically Endangered to Vulnerable on the
Fortunately, poaching is decreasing in certain areas. In Chitwan, Nepal rhino poaching has dropped to zero for the past year, and the population of rhinos has risen in Assam, India over the past decade. To stay updated on important news, follow the Service's International Affairs program on Facebook.
News & Publications:
FAQs and Additional Resources:
- USFWS Wildlife Without Borders rhino conservation funding and project summaries
- Rhino population history and current status
- International Rhino Foundation website
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wildlife Without Borders Funding for Rhinoceros Conservation:
In 2011, the Wildlife Without Borders Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Fund supported 21 projects to conserve rhinoceros and their habitats, totaling $1,053,154 in grant funding. This support leveraged an additional $2,099,675 in matching funds.
In Africa, 16 projects will conserve black and white rhinoceros in Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. An additional five conservation projects will support all three Asian species, working in India, Indonesia, and Nepal.
Click here to download a detailed list of 2011 project summaries from the Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Fund (PDF).
Rhinoceros Population History and Current Status:
Wild rhinos can still be found in parts of Asia and Africa, but they live in small fragmented populations which may not be viable (due to lack of breeding opportunities and risk of random events or disease). Sumatran rhinos have decreased by 50 percent in the past 18 years leaving fewer than 200 surviving, primarily in Indonesia and Malaysia.
Before 1900, black rhinos occurred throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa, but between 1970 and 1992, rhino populations declined 96%. Black rhinos went extinct in many range states, and by 1992, only 2,300 individuals survived in seven countries.
But while rhinos continue to be killed for their horns, increased security and greater anti-poaching efforts have led to increases in some populations over the past decade. Recovery of Africa’s white rhino demonstrates the benefits of strong law enforcement and conservation management. Decimated by hunting, white rhinos nearly became extinct with only about 100 surviving in the wild. Now, with good protection and successful management, the subspecies has increased to more than 20,000 and is the most abundant of all rhinos.
The following are current population estimates for the five species of rhinoceros, according to the International Rhino Foundation and IUCN Rhino Specialist Groups:
White rhinoceros: 20,150