Today, in advance of World Rhino Day on September 22, five of the world’s leading international conservation organizations announced the formation of a groundbreaking strategic partnership to save the critically endangered Sumatran rhinoceros from extinction. The effort, established to support the Government of Indonesia’s national Sumatran rhino conservation breeding program, is led by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Species Survival Commission, in coordination with Global Wildlife Conservation, International Rhino Foundation, National Geographic Society, and WWF.
With fewer than 80 Sumatran rhinos left in the world, the species faces a crisis point. Without intervention, the Sumatran rhino will soon go extinct. After decades of poaching and habitat loss, the greatest threat facing the species is the distance that separates their small populations. Unable to easily find mates, many breeding age Sumatran rhinos risk infertility as a result of extended isolation. In their current fragmented and dispersed pockets across two vast Indonesian islands, hope for their survival depends on conservationists’ ability to find and safely relocate them to specialized facilities designed for their care.
Since the dawn of the conservation movement, individual organizations and researchers have worked to save and protect species around the world. However, conservation organizations sometimes end up competing with each other for funding, resources, expertise, and access to the animals they are trying to save. Sumatran Rhino Rescue brings international and Indonesian NGOs together to create and implement a collaborative plan to save the species, working hand-in-hand with implementing partners on the ground and coordinating closely with leaders in government to remove these traditional barriers to success.
Sumatran Rhino Rescue will facilitate activities in three key areas of species conservation and care:
- Capacity Building: Establishing two new Sumatran Rhino Sanctuaries in Indonesia, one in Indonesian Borneo and the other in northern Sumatra, and expanding the existing facility in Way Kambas National Park;
- Search and Rescue: Undertaking search and rescue operations to move isolated Sumatran rhinos to managed conservation breeding facilities; and
- Care and Protection: Incorporating rhinos into a single conservation breeding program that uses state-of-the-art veterinary and husbandry care designed to maximize population growth.
An effort this ambitious will require significant investment. To kick-start a three-year fundraising effort, each partner organization has committed $1 million in support for a nearly $30 million emergency action fund for the Sumatran rhino.
For more information and to learn how to contribute, visit www.sumatranrhinorescue.org.