WHAT ARE WE TRYING TO DO?
Simply put, we love rhinos! Our aim is to help the species survive at sustainable levels in their natural habitat.
Rhino in some form or other have been on the planet for 50 million years, evolved into their current form throughout that time as the environment and habitat changed. They now face their biggest challenge as man restricts their natural habitat and kills them for their horn. They are perhaps symbolic of a struggle between man and the natural world.
We aim to help the species survive for future generations, this means that we favour projects that support the development of sustainable populations.
HOW ARE WE HELPING RHINOS?
We work with a small number of partners, predominantly in Africa, who meet some or all of the following criteria, they:
SEVEN KEY FOCUS AREAS
In order to keep rhino safe in their natural habitat, we believe there are seven key areas that we must be focussed on achieving. The first six key areas are the critical day to day operational processes of keeping rhinos safe, working with local communities and ensuring we have a global strategy at the highest level of Government to combat the Illegal Wildlife Trade.
Underpinning these six focus areas is the most critical - FUNDING. Without funding in place, none of the previous six areas will be successful. At Helping Rhinos, our number one objective is to secure the funding required to ensure our projects in the field can continue to operate.
Balancing the need to both protect land for wildlife and to sustain a growing human population is key to minimising human-wildlife conflict. By promoting to local communities the benefit of keeping land for wildlife and the possibility of generating a greater income than other potential land uses will ultimately put less pressure on rhino habitats.
An effective multi-pronged approach to anti-poaching initiatives is essential, including setting up dog patrol units, finding creative ways to recruit rangers (e.g. Black Mambas), ensuring on-the-job ranger training and a focus on their welfare, introducing community liaison officers, gathering intelligence and using brand new technology.
Wildlife conservancies / reserves must develop strong local community relations to provide tangible benefits and employment opportunities for its community members. Offering meaningful incentives to locals to protect wildlife will help to eliminate poaching.
Education resources must be provided for use in schools surrounding rhino habitats and programmes established to engage with the local adult populations. These programmes should cover all conservation issues: anti-poaching, habitat loss, welfare of domestic animals and management of water sources. Setting up international education programmes and implementing demand reduction campaigns in countries known for high usage of rhino horn is also an essential step.
Conservationists must work with research organisations to validate the effectiveness of rhino protection and demand reduction initiatives, use statistical analysis to confirm reported rhino population sizes and trends in population growth / decline and conduct scientific research into protecting critically endangered species eg. northern white rhino.
Governments play a key role in tackling illegal wildlife crime. It is vital to work with them to implement enforceable legislation with meaningful penalties, campaign for a legal system to stamp out bribery and corruption, lobby for greater transparency of actions taken to tackle illegal trade, encourage timely and regular publication of results achieved by initiatives to reduce illegal wildlife trade and lobby for the introduction of habitat protection initiatives.
The mind-set of how conservation is funded must change with a focus on creating sustainable funding models and reducing the reliance on traditional donor programmes. Helping Rhinos is committed to an 'investing in success' approach to allocation of funds to provide transparency to supporters on how the funds contribute to the overall conservation goals.