Rhino Mayday: Monday 9 May 2005 Hubert Planton: Operation Black Ghosts – Saving the last north-western black rhinos Abstract The north-western subspecies (Diceros bicornis longipes) is the least known and most endangered of all black rhino. Poaching pressure appears to have declined since ten years. Operation Black Ghosts therefore aims to: gather indisputable information about the rhino population; make this information available to decision makers and the scientific community; help design management options; and allow and support successful implementation. Field activities will be launched ASAP; 12 months are required to achieve the objectives. If the population is considered viable, it will be ranked as Continental priority for conservation by the African Rhino Specialist Group. This would have longstanding benefits for the rhino and other wildlife in the ecosystem, but also local human populations. Biography Dr Hubert Planton is a consultant / researcher in biodiversity and endangered species management, and a veterinary surgeon. He worked for 12 years in Cameroon in charge of wildlife management programmes. There he became involved with the conservation of the last north-western black rhino, developed a unique expertise of this subspecies, and close links and understanding of the traditional skills of the people who live amongst them. A member of the IUCN African Rhino Specialist Group, he registered an association named “Kilifori”, after the Fulani name for the western black rhino, which will collect funds and conduct field work to save and manage this population in the long-term. Yvonne Verkaik, Rhino Fund Uganda: Rhino re-establishment in Uganda Abstract Uganda lost its rhinos during the years of civil unrest in the 1970s. The last rhino was seen in 1982. Subspecies present in Uganda were the Northern White and Eastern Black. In 2001, two Southern White rhinoceros were imported from Kenya and brought to the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre in Entebbe, as the awareness-raising phase of the rhino reintroduction program. After three years of fund raising and construction, we have now established Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, a safe place for phase II of the programme: breeding of white and black rhinoceros. Biography Yvonne C Verkaik MBA, arrived in Uganda in 2000 during an overland trip from Holland to Cape Town and never left. Worked at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary to take care of orphaned chimps, followed by six months as interim manager of the Sanctuary. During this period, Yvonne also revived Rhino Fund Uganda, which had been dormant for two years. Appointed Executive Director in 2001 and responsible for fund raising and implementation of Uganda's rhino reintroduction program. Nick Lindsay: The EAZA Rhino Campaign Abstract Every year the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums coordinates a campaign aimed at raising awareness and sometimes funds for a range of themes. Starting in September 2005, the EAZA Campaign will be focused on Rhinos. With over 125 million visitors to EAZA member zoos each year, this is an exceptional opportunity to raise the profile of rhinos and their plight, as well as to raise funds which will go directly to supporting in-situ conservation projects. Nick will talk about previous campaigns and their successes, and introduce the Rhino Campaign and its objectives. Biography Nick Lindsay has been working in the zoo-end of wildlife conservation for some 30 years, formerly with Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust and now with the Zoological Society of London for the past 16 years. It was as Curator of Whipsnade Wild Animal Park that he first met rhinos (indeed three species of rhinos), and he has been trying to assist in rhino conservation where he can since then. ZSL has been working with rhinos for far longer, making a considerable contribution to both the population of greater one-horned, Southern whites and black rhinos in Europe, to the management of black rhinos in Kenya and Zimbabwe, and to the conservation of rhinos in Nepal over many years. Tim Woodfine: Adaptive management and conservation alliances: in support of rhino conservation in Zimbabwe Abstract The talk will be on: Marwell's rhino conservation programme in Zimbabwe and how this fits within the broader context of achieving national strategy while meeting local and contemporary needs. This will cover a brief history and summary of Marwell's involvement, how this has developed through alliances with partner organisations and understanding local needs, and approaches to managing conservation projects through a turbulent and uncertain period of time. Biography With a PhD in Biodiversity Management, Tim is currently Head of Conservation & Wildlife Management, Marwell Preservation Trust, and responsible for the development and management of the organisation's UK and international field projects which includes work on conservation of large mammals in Africa. Tim has been involved in rhino conservation in Zimbabwe since 1997 including research on the diet and nutrition of black rhino, developing a programme to support monitoring and management activities within the national parks estate and liaising with other stakeholders through the national rhino management committee. Paul Pearce-Kelly: How Kenya’s biological management initiative is key to conserving the critically endangered eastern black rhino Abstract In the 1980s and 90s, Kenya pioneered the sanctuary approach to protect the few remaining eastern black rhinos from a poaching onslaught. Kenya’s population by then had been reduced to fewer than 400 individuals, from 1970 levels of about 18,000 animals. The current population of about 450 animals is spread across 14 sanctuaries, reserves and national parks with habitats ranging from dense forest to semi-arid shrubland. Optimum biological management of these relatively small and well-protected sanctuary populations is critical for realising Kenya’s conservation objective of 5% annual reproductive growth rate of the national herd. The Kenyan five-year Black Rhino Management Strategy (a collaboration between KWS, ZSL and the IUCN African Rhino Specialist Group) is therefore prioritising the refinement of this key element alongside the development of procedures for assessing black rhino habitat quality. Biography The presentation has been prepared by Rajan Amin, Benson Okita Ouma, and Paul Pearce-Kelly, and is being delivered by Paul. Raj has been working closely with the Kenya Wildlife Service for the past 10 years. He is currently managing the Kenyan Black Rhino Darwin Initiative project in partnership with KWS and the IUCN Rhino Specialist Group. Ben is the KWS Rhino Scientist. He assists the Rhino Coordinator, Martin Mulama, in managing the Kenyan Rhino Programme. Ben recently obtained a Distinction in his MSc at DICE-Kent and his MSc project findings were highlighted at the 2004 CITES meeting. Paul is a member of IUCN's SSC Conservation Breeding and Reintroduction Specialist Groups and through his population management work with Raj has become closely involved with the ZSL / KWS rhino conservation effort. Matt Walpole: Rhinos without borders – conserving black rhinos in the Mara- Serengeti ecosystem in Kenya and Tanzania Abstract The recovery of the black rhino population in Kenya's Masai Mara after poaching in the 1980s appears to have stalled. Although females are breeding well, numerous animals seem to have disappeared over the border into the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, never to be heard of again. Why are these animals leaving, and what can best be done to ensure optimum recovery rates in this cross-border ecosystem? In this session, Matt will present research findings that help to explain the pattern of recovery and dispersal, and discuss some of the challenges to cross-border rhino conservation that were highlighted at a recent ecosystem planning workshop. Biography Matt Walpole has spent the past decade at the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE), University of Kent, undertaking postgraduate and postdoctoral research into social, economic and ecological aspects of wildlife conservation in Asia and Africa. Since 1998, after completing a PhD in Komodo dragon tourism, Matt's work began to focus on human-wildlife conflict in Kenya's Masai Mara National Reserve. This included a project to identify factors affecting the recovery of the Mara black rhino population. Matt recently left DICE to join Fauna and Flora International as a programme co-ordinator, although he manages to keep one foot in the rhino world. Nico van Strien: Javan and Sumatran rhinos – new challenges and possibilities Abstract The past and present status of the two rarest rhino species will be reviewed. Only about 40-50 Javan rhinos survive in Ujung Kulon, Java and a handful in Cat Loc, Vietnam. The Ujung Kulon population has been stagnant for 30 years now and it is urgent to establish new populations elsewhere to secure the survival of the species. The Sumatran rhino is more numerous, but worldwide there are no more than four viable populations, most in areas where the habitat is seriously threatened. The small captive population suffered a disastrous development with the annihilation of the largest group in Malaysia, but in the US two calves have been born that are doing very well. The captive population in Indonesia may soon be supplemented with a few animals to be rescued from Kerinci in central Sumatra. Biography Nico van Strien is the SE Asia Coordinator for the International Rhino Foundation (IRF) and a Programme Officer for the IUCN / SSC Asian Rhino Specialist Group. He has been working for more than 30 years with south-east Asian rhinos, including field research on Sumatran Rhino in Gunung Leuser NP. He is working mostly from the IRF office in Jakarta, co-ordinating anti-poaching activities (RPUs) in most key rhino areas, assisting the captive breeding programs and developing new initiatives for conservation of the Javan and Sumatran rhino. o.