The Asian Rhino Project

Find out more about the Asian Rhino Project.

 

Overview
The Asian Rhino Project (ARP) is an Australian NGO raising awareness and support for the three Asian rhinoceros species – the Sumatran Rhino (Critically Endangered), the Javan Rhino (Critically Endangered) and the Indian Rhino (Threatened).

Since 2003, the ARP has established itself internationally as a non-government organisation dedicated to the recovery of Asian rhino species in the wild. The ARP is actively involved with the IUCN Species Specialist Group, International and range-state NGOs together with local governments and communities to achieve positive rhino conservation outcomes. ARP encourages projects to be co-contributed or supported by relevant authorities, local and international NGOs operating in the area. We believe that collaboration between all stakeholders will achieve positive, more cost effective rhino conservation outcomes delivered as effectively and efficiently as possible.100% of funds donated to the Asian Rhino Conservation Fund is allocated directly to Asian rhino conservation programs.

 ARP supported programs range across 4 countries (India, Nepal, Indonesia and Malaysia). The type of projects we support range from Rhino Protection Units, Intelligence and Law Enforcement Units, captive breeding programs, camera and video trap surveys, DNA studies, community education, rhino rescue and rehabilitation, as well as habitat surveys, protection and restoration programs. Rhino Protection Units (RPUs) provide protection in rhino habitats patrolling for signs of illegal encroachment, removing lethal snares and filling in pit traps as well as monitor and record all signs of rhinos in their habitat.

The Asian Rhino Project has supported fellow NGOs across Indonesia, Malaysia, and India and their RPU teams providing them with essential equipment to carry out these operations. Commitment to investigations into the illegal trade in rhino horn are essential to enable successful law enforcement by establishing exactly where the rhino horn is being traded, how it is being transported from rhino habitats to markets and identifying individuals facilitating such trade. Strategic sting operations through incentive programs are required. The Asian Rhino Project assists such investigations as well as DNA studies and other scientific means to aid in curbing these activities.The Asian Rhino Project also supports community programs including awareness and education, relocation, better farming and environmental programs as well as incentives for park protection. We fund animal rescue programs, snare removal programs, camera trapping operations, habitat assessment and studies as well. Often projects supported assist other endangered flora and fauna within the rhino habitat.

ASIAN RHINO SPECIES
Sumatran

This species is the only two-horned rhino of the three Asian species but is more closely related to the Asian One-horned Rhino than its two-horned African cousins. Its hide is red in colour with a hairy coat and it is sometimes referred to the ‘Asian Hairy Rhinoceros’. The smallest of the rhino species, it weighs just 950kg. With a height of only 1.5 meters, another nick-name for these rhino is the ‘Pygmy Rhino’. This species is the closest living relative of the extinct ‘Wooly Rhinoceros’.The wild Sumatran Rhinoceros population is estimated to be less than 200 individuals. This species is considered the most highly endangered species of rhino in the world because of the extreme fragmentation of its population. Small numbers of the Sumatran rhinos are scattered across the islands of Sumatra and Borneo. Until recently the Sumatran rhinoceros was also found in Malaysia Peninsula however, there have been no recent sightings for many years and these populations may well have become extinct.Although the Sumatran Rhino numbers more than its Javan relatives, it is considered to be more threatened due to its extreme population fragmentation. The population has declined by 70% over the last two decades due to poaching for its horn as well as increasing destruction of its habitat.

Javan

The Javan Rhino is similar to the Indian Rhino with “riveted” looking skin folds. It can weigh up to 2.3 tonne and stand up to 1.7 meters in height. It has only one horn, although the female’s horn is much smaller or virtually non-existent.The appallingly low population of the Javan Rhinoceros is estimated to be approximately 44 animals living in Ujong Kulon National Park. In October 2011, the Vietnamese species was confirmed extinct after a poached rhinoceros carcass was discovered in Cat Tien National Park. The Javan rhinoceros population is lower than the Sumatran Rhino, however, it is considered to be in a stronger position as the majority of the population is protected within the National Park. The Javan Rhino is most definitely the rarest rhino in the world and is classified as critically endangered.With no animals in captivity, it is vital that this population get all the help they need to ensure long term survival. Work has begun on the Javan Rhino Conservation and Study Area to expand the rhinos’ habitat by removing illegal settlers, eradicating Arenga Palm (an invasive weed that destroys rhino food sources) and planting rhino food. Promisingly, several rhinos have already been cited in this new area.

 Indian Rhino
The Indian Rhino has thick folds of skin that are likened to a coat of armour. It is the second largest rhino to the African White Rhino weighing up to 2.7 tonne and standing up to two metres in height. These rhino only have one horn and are grey in colour.The Indian rhinoceros is a conservation success story with the species moving from Endangered to Vulnerable classification in 2008. The population has turned around from approximately 200 individuals at the turn of the 20thcentury to over 2,800 throughout India and Nepal today. This is thanks to strict protection of the species within national parks and park protection.Re-introduction programs have begun and the species is starting to repopulate former habitats where not so long ago they had become extinct from. We cannot afford relax though – poaching is still a major threat to the Indian rhino as is habitat quality. Most of the rhino habitat is surrounded by people and farming. Rhino are known to stray from the safety of the parks and human rhino conflict is often encountered resulting in death or injury from both parties.
If you would like to assist Wildlife Asia to support ARP projects please contact Clare Campbell, Director at clare.campbell@wildlifeasia.org.au or +61 438992325

 

 


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