Thursday, November 6, 2014

Black Rhino

Don't forget to keep posting on the blog.
The black rhinoceros or hook-lipped rhinoceros is a species of rhinoceros, native to eastern and central Africa including Kenya, Tanzania, Cameroon, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Angola.
European hunters are responsible for the early decline of black rhino populations. It was not uncommon for five or six rhinos to be killed in a day for food or simply for amusement. European settlers that arrived in Africa in the early 20th century to colonize and establish farms and plantations continued this senseless slaughter. Most people regarded rhinos as vermin and exterminated them at all costs.
“DOOMED.” That was the front page headline of the UK newspaper, the Daily Mirror, in 1961, accompanied by a full-page photo of two African rhinos. The article said that rhinos were “doomed to disappear from the face of the earth due to man’s folly, greed, neglect” and encouraged readers to support a new conservation organization: WWF. We’ve been fighting to protect African rhinos ever since. Recent success in black rhino conservation is heartening, but a lot of work remains to bring the population up to even a fraction of what it once was – and ensure that it stays there.

Illegal Wildlife Trade

Black rhinos have two horns, and occasionally a third small posterior horn. The front horn is longer than the rear which makes them lucrative targets for the illegal trade in rhino horn. Between 1970 and 1992, 96 percent of Africa's remaining black rhinos were killed. A wave of poaching for rhino horn rippled through Kenya and Tanzania, continued south through Zambia's Luangwa Valley as far as the Zambezi River, and spread into Zimbabwe. Political instability and wars have greatly hampered rhino conservation work in Africa, notably in Angola, Rwanda, Somalia and Sudan. This situation has exacerbated threats such as trade in rhino horn, and increased poaching due to poverty.
Today, black rhinos remain Critically Endangered because of rising demand for rhino horn, which has driven poaching to record levels. A recent increase in poaching in South Africa threatens to erase our conservation success. The increase is driven by a growing demand from some Asian consumers, particularly in Vietnam, for folk remedies containing rhino horn. A total of 333 rhinos were killed in South Africa in 2010 – almost one a day

Flying Rhinos

In October 2011, WWF helped to successfully establish a new black rhino population in a safer, more spacious location. Nineteen critically endangered black rhinos were transported via helicopter to a land vehicle. They spent less than 10 minutes in the air and the sedated animals woke up in a new home. Translocations reduce pressure on existing wildlife reserves and provide new territory where rhinos have a greater opportunity to increase in number. Creating more dispersed and better protected populations also helps keep rhinos safe from poachers. This work was done by the Black Rhino Range Expansion Project (BRREP), a partnership between WWF-South Africa, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism

Monitoring and Protection

Black Rhino
Etosha National Park, Namibia.
To monitor and protect black rhinos WWF focuses on better-integrated intelligence gathering networks on rhino poaching and trade, more antipoaching patrols and better equipped conservation law enforcement officers. Namibia has one of the largest black rhino populations in the world, with a majority found in Etosha National Park. Although their numbers are increasing, the black rhino is still under threat, particularly as Asian demand for rhino horn skyrockets. WWF works with Namibia’s wildlife services in Etosha to protect the country’s endangered black rhino population. This is being done through effective security monitoring, better biological management and wildlife-based tourism, with proceeds going directly back into conservation efforts.

Tackling Illegal Wildlife Trade

WWF is setting up an Africa-wide rhino database using rhino horn DNA analysis (RhoDIS), which contributes to forensic investigations at the scene of the crime and for court evidence to greatly strengthen prosecution cases. In South Africa and Kenya, it has been circulated into law as legal evidence in courts and rhino management. This work is done with institutions like the University of Pretoria Veterinary Genetics Laboratory.
In Namibia, WWF we worked with the government and other partners to develop innovative new transmitters to track rhino movements and protect them against poaching. We also helped set up and promote a free and confidential phone hotline that allows people to inform the authorities about poaching safely and anonymously. WWF developed this tool with the Government of Namibia and Mobile Telecommunications Limited. Rhino poaching in Namibia is now at an all time low.
TRAFFIC, the world’s largest wildlife trade monitoring network, has played a vital role in bilateral law enforcement efforts between South Africa and Vietnam. This has gone hand-in-hand with written commitments to strengthen border and ports monitoring as well as information sharing in order to disrupt the illegal trade chain activities and bring the perpetrators to justice for their crimes against rhinos.

Effective Public-Private Partnerships

The Black Rhino Range Expansion Project (BRREP) was established in 2003 and is a partnership between WWF, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism. This model for public-private partnership shares the responsibility of increasing the population of black rhinos in KwaZulu Natal and allows every partner to benefit. Since the project began in 2003, seven new black rhino populations have been created in South Africa on more than 37,000 acres of land. Nearly 120 black rhino have been translocated and more than 30 calves have been born on project sites.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

CHIZI'S TALE-The True Story of an Orphaned Black Rhino

Hello Alchemist Club Members , check out this amazing story of how one family save this baby black rhino. I hope this story will inspire some of you to help protect this precious specie that's on the verge of extinct.

Dr. Ronelus

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The True Story of an Orphaned Black Rhino

Coming this September!

ChiziCoverNotFinal2Written by Jack Jones
Illustrated by Jacqui Taylor

 “Having a true passion for books about enchanting animals, I was delighted to read Chizi’s story. It is funny and charming and delivers a powerful message. This book will raise awareness and inspire children and parents alike to take action and help protect the black rhino and the planet’s other endangered species”

Craig Hatkoff
Author of Owen and Mzee

Black rhinos are critically endangered. Saving Chizi and then helping him to return to his natural habitat is vital to helping his species survive.
In Zimbabwe during a recent August, two park rangers made a surprising discovery. They found an abandoned baby black rhino, only days old. They called the park manager who, knowing the rhino could not survive alone, did something as surprising as the discovery itself: he took the baby rhino home.
ChiziSpotArt Chizi’s Tale is the true story of that baby rhino. Chizi still lives with the manager, his wife, and their children until he matures and can be released back into the wild.
Written by a young author determined to share Chizi’s story as a way to help save the black rhino, Chizi’s Tale is a remarkable, moving story about an endearing and vulnerable rhino and the brave family helping him.

100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of this book go to Tusk.

As the endangered black rhino fights to remain viable in the wild, I can think of no better way to help save the species than to educate children – and adults – about this wonderful animal. Chizi’s Tale is an engaging and appealing book, and Jack Jones has found the right balance of fun and responsibility to tell Chizi’s story. Educational and entertaining, the book teaches an important lesson and gently encourages all of us to help save our world’s vanishing species through kindness and determination.

– Jeff Trandahl, CEO and Executive Director, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

Click to view larger image.
Click for larger image.

Jack Jones
Jack Jones is a senior in high school at Brunswick School in Connecticut, where he is on the football, wrestling, and tennis teams. Every summer since he was a child, he has traveled to Africa, where he has learned the importance of preserving and protecting nature. He is the youngest of four children, and he likes surfing, writing, and New York Giants football.

Illustrator Jacqui Taylor lives in Zimbabwe. She wrote and illustrated “A Hong Kong ABC” and “An African ABC.” She has illustrated “Kubuka and the Magic Calabash” written by Janet Keegans (Random House Struik/2004) and “Namakwa’s Garden” written by Mary Clanahan (Random House Struik/2005). “A Baobab is Big” was written and illustrated by Jacqui (Random House Struik/2004) before her latest book, “The Queen of Green,” released by Random House Struik in 2010.

family photo (7)The Wenham family, with whom Chizi lives, will travel to the U.S. in September for select appearances. Colin Wenham has worked in the field of conservation for the past 25 years and has had extensive experience in game capture and management of Southern African animals, which include both species of rhino. He has a deep passion for wildlife and wild places and believes in protecting them for future generations.

Tusk has built a reputation for identifying and supporting an impressive range of conservation and sustainable community development and initiatives right across Africa.  The charity, whose Royal Patron is HRH The Duke of Cambridge, invests in programmes which use conservation as a tool to alleviate poverty, improve education and reduce conflict, whilst also protecting areas rich in biodiversity.
Funding is focused on the protection of endangered species and habitats, construction of schools, implementation of water projects and improving livelihoods through the creation of nature-based enterprise. Tusk is highly efficient in delivering donor funds with the maximum possible impact.
UK Registered Charity No 803118
Tusk USA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organisation.  EIN 30-0190986
For sales information, please contact:
New Leaf Distributing Company
also available at Ingram and Baker & Taylor
For more information, please contact:
Caitlin Hamilton Marketing & Publicity, LLC
Tel./fax: (865) 675-3776
Caitlin Hamilton Summie
Rick Summie

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


I'll be good athlete and black rhinos will be good at camouflage.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

OK Everyone - Big Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade going on in London this week - Feb 10, 2014

Some of our students should be there!!!   We should beam in from Nairobi and NYC and Bungoma!!

Here are three good articles - one on the talks, the other on Prince William's ill-timed hunting trip to Spain, and the other on more illegal wildlife trade stories - this time war-torn Afghanistan

Illegal Wildlife Trade Crisis Talks in London

Bad Timing to go hunting?   We wipe out top predators and we need to hunt herbivores that overpopulate the landscape

Illegal wildlife trade - Afghanistan

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Most disturbing article - the slaughter is rampant in South Africa --

See the undercover video within -

Kids Worldwide UNITE!!!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Hi Everyone,

Well there is some more bad news out of South Africa - this time on white rhinos which there is a much larger population than the black rhinos.  Worst year ever in recent memory for poaching - over 1,000 killed for their horns.

However, there is some interesting information I did not know that offers us in our time some hope for even the black rhinos.  In the 1900s the white rhino numbered only about 100 now there are 20,000.  It is one of the biggest conservation of endangered species success stories.

So we must keep trying and get a good petition together, so we can galvanize kids all over the world through social media to get the Vietnamese and Chinese governments to educate their people with our help - that it can not cure illnesses, hangovers, or is a cool designer drug or any other dumb reason to want it.

OK - hopefully we can get Phase II off the ground sooner than later. Sandra Thaxter is coming over to lend a hand and is bringing gifts of computers to several communities and schools in Kenya!

Watch for her - She is the white haired angel floating by.... Have a great trip Sandra!


Friday, January 17, 2014

Zoo Miami

The Indian and Black Rhinoceroses
By Susana Cortázar

Inevitably, when patrons walk through the many animal exhibits at Zoo Miami, they will stop and “ooh” and “aah” at two of our most impressive animals – the powerful-looking Indian and Black rhinos, with their massive bodies, armor-like exteriors and imposing stature.  Not only are they beautiful to look at, they are quite interesting and different from each other.
The Indian Rhino
The Indian rhino, also known as the Greater One-horned Rhinoceros is native to India and Nepal.  Both genders have a single black horn which develops at six years of age and is used for protection, scent-marking, and charging.  In the wild, they rub it against trees to sharpen it, while in captivity, they usually rub the horn down into a nub.
Although it has poor eyesight, it possesses excellent senses of hearing and smell.  It can weigh from 5,000 to more than 6,500 pounds, ranges between 5’7” – 6’7” tall and is approximately 13 feet long.  An excellent swimmer, it can also run up to 25 miles per hour.
Hairless, other than eyelashes, around the ear tips and the end of its tail, the Indian rhino is covered by thick silver-brown skin folds and gives it an armor-like appearance; its neck, legs and shoulders have wart-like “bumps.”
Photo by Susana Cortázar
While mostly solitary in nature, they form social groups and greet each other by waving or moving their head up and down.  They are most active during the morning and at night, and wallow in water and puddles during the hot afternoons. 
Grazers, they eat grass, branches, fruits, and trees.  They also do what is known as “flehmening” – when the rhino comes across female urine, examines it, curls back his upper lips in order to expose his vomeronasal organ, and can tell from the drawn urine scent the hormonal level of the female and whether she is ready to breed.
The Indian rhino’s natural enemies are tigers and humans, who hunt it for sport or to use its horn. Dominant males also fight among themselves, resulting in high mortality rates.  Surprisingly, the Indian rhino fights with its incisors, not its horn.  It is also very aggressive toward the female during courtship.
Females’ gestation period is approximately 16 months.  Mothers give birth to one calf, and will stay with it up to four years.  Babies are anywhere from 80 – 100 pounds at birth.
And now, let’s meet Zoo Miami’s four fascinating Indian rhinos:
• Mohan – male; in his 40s; one of the oldest rhinos in captivity; caught in the wild
• Suru – male; nine years old; can be seen if you take a behind-the-scenes tour; is used for breeding; came from the San Diego Zoo
• Jaunpur (“Johnny”) – male; 20 years old; weighs 4,700 pounds; the star of our Rhino Encounter Station; came from the San Diego Zoo
• Kalu – female; nine years old; 3,400 pounds; came from the Bronx Zoo
Our Indian rhinos are no lightweights.  They eat a whopping 100 pounds of food a day – one bale of hay, 20 – 25 pounds of pelleted food, and produce.  For enrichment, they get browse – mahogany, rosewood, rubber tree, ficus leaves and branches, avocadoes, and mangoes, all of which are found at Zoo Miami.  They also enjoy playing with a 50-pound boomer ball and love to go for a swim in their respective exhibit’s pools.
Our female, Kalu, tends to be shy, while the males are more territorial, solitary and friendly.
Photo by Susana Cortázar
Their four keepers work closely with them to train them to lean-in toward the fence so they can be closely examined, open their mouth to check their teeth and raise their foot for drawing blood for medical exams.  Keepers follow a specific behavioral plan and each keeper is responsible for teaching a particular behavior.  One of the most popular training techniques is “target,” where the rhino is trained to touch his/her nose to the end of a stick, enabling keepers to guide the animals where they need to go.
The keepers work very closely with the rhinos but never have unprotected contact with them.  A system of heavy metal swinging doors keep them apart.  Keeper Kim Jacobs states that, “although keepers and their animals form a strong bond, we keepers need to have a healthy respect for these animals no matter how much we love them.  After all, they are not pets, can become aggressive at any given moment and cause great harm.”
Indian rhinos vocalize and keepers can tell what the rhinos are trying to tell them with each distinct sound. Kim explains some of the vocalizations. “Air breaking, the most common, represents frustration; grunting means aggression; and when females are in heat, they constantly emit a high-pitched sound.”
Zoo Miami has just opened a Rhino Encounter Station, where patrons will have the rare experience of touching, brushing and smelling a rhino.  Johnny, the star, has been undergoing training for three months by means of audio cues to go to the encounter area and lean against the metal fence.  Training started with a ringing bell and he is being given browse.  Although rhinos are not very intelligent but easy to train, Johnny soon learned that when he heard the bell, going to the designated spot would earn him a treat.  Hey, who wouldn’t learn quickly if a treat were the end result?
You’ll notice that Johnny does not have a horn.  He has rubbed it down to a nub by marking his territory.  In the wild, rhinos rub them into a sharp point to use them as defense and other purposes.
A funny, or maybe not – depending on where you’re standing – characteristic of the male Indian rhino is that it urinates backward to mark its territory.  So when you visit our rhino encounter at Zoo Miami, be cognizant that if Johnny decides to mark at that moment, you may need a change of clothes!  But we’re sure you’ll have a good laugh!
The Black Rhino
The Black rhino, which has four subspecies ranging historically throughout sub-Saharan Africa, is not really black but more gray/brown/white, depending on the soil condition and its wallowing behavior.  Approximately 11 – 12 feet long, 55 – 67 inches high, and weighing between 1,800 – 3,100 pounds, it runs at speeds up to 35 miles per hour.  It has two keratin horns on its skull (keratin is the material that makes up human hair and nails) which are used for defense, breaking through big branches to feed, and instilling fear in its enemies. Its long, prehensile upper lip, much like an elephant’s or a tapir’s allows it to grasp leaves and small branches.
While not blessed with good eyesight, they make up for it by relying on their excellent senses of smell and hearing.  They are not territorial, but can become extremely aggressive and attack if they feel threatened or become confused. 
Unfortunately, the Black rhino is almost extinct as a result of loss of habitat and its only natural predators – lions, hyenas and poachers.  Its horns are sought after for use in traditional Chinese medicine and it is claimed they cure fevers, act as an aphrodisiac, and help with fertility problems.  While there is no medical proof for any of this, the practice has sadly resulted in an enormous reduction in the Black rhino population.  In the Middle East, the horn is used to make hand-carved handles for daggers used in various ceremonial events.  These handles are considered status symbols in and can cost anywhere from a staggering $15,000  to $75,000!
Black rhinos are solitary animals, coming together only to mate.  Gestation is 15 – 16 months long and they give birth to a single calf, between 75 – 100 pounds, weaned at approximately two years of age. 
Photo by Ron Magill
According to Zoo Miami Mammal Curator Conrad Schmitt, “Zoo Miami has been very successful in producing Eastern Black rhinoceros babies – 13 since we opened 30 years ago.” There are now four Black rhinos at Zoo Miami:
Toshi – male; imported from Hiroshima, Japan, in the late 80s and is the father of Circe’s unborn baby
Eddie – male; 11 years old; born in Cincinnati and owned by Peace River
Circe – female; 10 years old; pregnant and due in August; born at the Riverbanks Zoo and owned by the L.A. Zoo
Jello – male; six years old; born at Zoo Miami
Their daily diet consists of one bucket of pellets, one bag of produce and a couple of big flakes of hay.  For enrichment, they receive ficus leaves and branches, banana peels, rubber tree, mahogany, and a boomer ball, which they love to roll down into the moat.
Black rhino Area Manager Kim Harp, who was worked with the rhinos 3½ years, laughs when she talks about the rhinos’ vocalizations.  “They squeak like a little toy.  They do this when they are calling out to each other or to the keeper. It’s hysterical to see this huge animal have this little squeak come out of it.”  Other vocalizations include growling and roaring when they feel aggressive or upset, and huffing when they are excited.
Circe, who is pregnant, is more “high strung, sensitive to her environment and timid than our males,” says Kim.  Behaviors during labor include pacing, contractions, pushing, and vocalizing in the form of squeaking. And now that a new black rhino is due in August, how does Kim feel about it?  “This will be Circe’s second baby and I am very excited to be having another black baby rhino running around soon.” 
Although there are seven keepers tending to them, the rhinos don’t really have a favorite, although they can tell when someone new is around.
And while Indian rhinos urinate backward to mark their territory, they have been upstaged by the black rhinos.  How?  Well, not only do they urinate backward, but then defecate and kick their dung to spread it around in order to mark their territory. 
So, should you ever come close to a rhino, it is suggested you either get the heck out of the way fast, or don’t go behind him or her at all!
Photo by Ron Magill

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

As we all know, the Black Rhino is a symbolic iconic large creature that we want to protect and preserve.  It is also a prime example of our destructive ways, and in the rhinos' instance glaring beacons of human greed, poverty, and old superstitious cultural beliefs.

As was shown in the prior article Bonnie sent that I posted the other day on Vietnam’s rhino horn demand – it will be more difficult than I imagined to stem the tide of this surging demand (in Vietnam anyway).  But all it takes is one country whose laws and practices can’t or won’t be changed to wipe out a species already threatened, likely in less than a generation.  So despite that we have to continue to try!

And as you know too, rhinos are only part of the equation here.  They are part of a much bigger picture.  

We have to care about all nature and its diversity.  We become a more spiritually bankrupt species if these creatures and ecosystems are wiped out by our careless acts or over development.  But not only will our spirits suffer, it will also greatly impact our physical well-being as well.

So if we look at it in a more self-serving way, we should really consider this impact on our own future as biological creatures inhabiting a big biological system called planet Earth, (which also is planet Ocean).

Here for you are three important articles and two short films - A very sad article on West African lions (near gone – save them East Africa!!), forest elephants of the Congo, and the ocean's coral reefs.

Ahh, what roles these top predators, elephants and coral reefs do play in keeping earth’s bounty intact for future generations!!


West African Lion – Critically Endangered

Great videos

Why Elephants Are So Important for Humanity

Why biodiversity and coral reefs are so important for life in oceans and for humans

Sunday, January 12, 2014

One more really good one from Bonnie - lots of good info to keep us updated on the situation of rhino poaching and the illegal market for wildlife... Thanks again Bonnie
Hi All,

Bonnie was kind enough to send us this update and assessment on the state of the Black Rhino population in the wild.  Not a good prognosis, but that was before our Kids Worldwide Unite: Save the Black Rhino program came into the picture!!  Keep up the good work and ideas flowing.

Thank you Bonnie and all.


Monday, January 6, 2014

OK - Some good news for a change - China Takes A Step In the Right Direction - Publicly Destroys Stash of Ivory

Hi All,

This bodes well.  I think if we can get our act together as a team this year and get the social media active behind our Founder - Kids Worldwide Unite:  Save the Black Rhino (and Elephants), the Chinese government at least might be open to our idea of a massive reeducation program for their people to help curb the huge demand.  Then we work on Vietnam!!

Let's continue the dialogue and get down to how we can do it together in 2014!!!  The year the kids from South Bronx, Bungoma and Nairobi Kenya and their friends saved the Rhino and Elephant from Extinction.

Best Regards,