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Black Rhino: Q&A
We've all been enjoying watching Rhinocam but how much do you know about Sita's species?
Henry French, of the UK-based charity Save the Rhino International, tells us a bit about the problems facing black rhinos in the wild.
How many black rhinos are there?
There are about 3,725 black rhinos remaining in the wild. At the beginning of the 20th century there were 500,000, but by 1970 the population was down to 65,000, and in the mid 1990s it hit an all-time low of about 3,000.
A rhino calf
Why the decline?
The population was reduced in the early 20th century by big game hunting, and then poaching for horn for Jambiya handles (a type of dagger popular in Yemen) and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Habitat loss and political conflict have also made a big impact on rhino numbers.
Why should we care about rhinos?
The animals which raise the most money tend to be the cutest – donkeys and cats, for example, or pandas.
Rhinos are not cute, but they are a very important species, especially since money which goes towards saving rhinos has a positive effect on bio-diversity.
Rhino projects help conserve habitat for all the species in their areas.
Also, rhinos have been virtually wiped out by direct human interference – they have literally been hunted and poached to the brink of extinction by humans in 100 years.
Save The Rhino
We need to reverse this trend, and quickly – rhinos are still in very real danger of becoming extinct.
What is Save the Rhino doing to help?
Save the Rhino raises funds for rhino projects in the wild. These projects cover anything from anti-poaching units, local education about the importance of rhinos in Africa, to monitoring work to keep a close eye on what’s happening in particular populations of rhino.
For more details of the charity's work visit the Save the Rhino website.
What are zoos doing to help?
Zoos help rhinos directly by supporting a captive population. The new rhino at Paignton Zoo will be another member of this safe group of rhino!
And zoos also help by funding rhino projects in the wild. In 2006 the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria ran a big fundraising campaign in aid of rhinos, which has so far raised 515,000 Euros.
Zoos from all over Europe have contributed, including Paignton, which raised over 6,000 Euros for rhinos.
last updated: 31/01/2008 at 10:02