Just a few days ago it was Save the Rhino Day! But why not make May Save the Rhino Month or better yet, lets make 2017 Save the Rhino Year!
Who is with me??
Orphanage closes down after brutal attack!
As you are aware a while back the Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage was attacked, the staff were assaulted and 2 of the rhino orphans killed. It shook everyone and has taken immense strength for the staff to bounce back. Unfortunately due to ongoing safety concern they have announced that they will be shutting the orphanage for good. Extremely tragic that is has come to this. We thank you Thula Thula for your amazing work.
Here is a statement from Thula Thula Rhino Orphange:
As our followers are aware, FTTRO experienced a brutal poaching attack in February that resulted in an assault on staff and the tragic loss of two rhino calves that were both shot and their horns removed. Since the attack, the Lawrence Anthony Earth Organisation, who administers the facility, has focused on the immediate safety of the staff, volunteers and remaining animals on site as well as providing support for the police and security experts investigating the incident.
In a recent statement explaining the way forward, LAEO Directors detailed an interim plan to move the animals and staff off-site to give their team a chance to recover from the trauma and allow management time to conduct independent security assessments and review the findings of the criminal investigation. "It is LAEO's responsibility to ensure that we meticulously weigh up all the factors of the investigation and security reports. Our focus is ensuring that the facility is safe for both people and animals, managed according to best practice animal rehabilitation protocols, and is sustainable." commented Yvette Taylor from LAEO.
Ongoing security challenges experienced since the attack and the review of the independent security assessments have resulted in the LAEO Board of Directors making the heart wrenching decision to permanently close the Fundimvelo Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage. The security assessments highlighted critical issues that LAEO management felt could not be mitigated and these factors would have directly compromised the ongoing safety of everyone on-site. Additional costs to provide extra 24/7 guards to adequately secure the facility in the long-term proved prohibitive and impacted on the sustainability of the facility. The decision was taken as a direct result of advice from security experts, anti-poaching professionals and senior police officers.
FTTRO has made arrangements for the remainder of their donated funds to be channeled to the facilities who have taken over the care of the rhino calves. "Our supporters made donations in good faith to support the care of rhino orphans and we will ensure that their donations are still used for that purpose." said Yvette Taylor. "The animals have now all been moved together with their handlers to ensure continuity of care, and all the rhino calves, as well as Charlie, the hippo, are doing well and have settled in their new surroundings. The Lawrence Anthony Earth Organisation wishes to thank the public for their overwhelming support during this challenging time."
The Harsh Reality!
This is something else I came across this week that really put it all into perspective:
How can we let this happen under our watch?
Article by The Star
Customs bust attempt to smuggle in African rhino horns in Malaysia.
SEPANG: The Customs Department intercepted an attempt to smuggle in some RM13.6mil worth of African rhinoceros horns - making it the first and biggest haul of the item in Malaysia.
He said 18 horns, weighing about 51.44kg, were seized after checks were carried out on a package that was flown in from Mozambique via Qatar Airways to the KL International Airport.
"We acted based on a tip off. The shipment transited in Doha prior to its arrival at our air cargo warehouse at the free trade zone. Hamzah said the horns could be of African rhinos, given the origin of the package.
"Initial investigations found that the package was declared as 'Obra De Arte' (objects of art in Portuguese). the destination's address in Nilai is also fake," he said.
It is an offence to import horns without a permit from the Wildlife and National Parks Department. Asked what the horns would be used for, Hamzah said they could be used for medicinal purposes.
The case is being investigated for smuggling of prohibited goods under Section 135 (1)(a) of the Customs Act 1967.
A person convicted is liable to a fine of not less than 10 times the amount of the Customs duty or RM50,000, whichever is the lesser amount, and not more than 20 times the amount of the Customs duty or RM100,000, whichever is greater, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or both.
April was a great fundraising month for our rhinoLOVE project! We raised over $5200. Thank you to everyone who contributed especially the Sowerby family. This money will be donated to various organisations over the next 2 months to help us fund notching procedures as well as assist is caring for the orphans. We will keep you updated on how the money in spent on social media and in our next blog.
If you would like to support the rhinos please donate here:
*image credit Graeme Mitchley