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International Year of the Rhino

2012 Marks the Start of the International Year of the Rhino

Increasing alarm for the fate of the two rarest rhinoceros species, and growing concern over the increased illegal hunting of rhinos and demand for rhino horn affecting all five species, has prompted President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia to declare 5 June 2012 as the start of the International Year of the Rhino. President Yudhoyono took this step at the request of IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and other conservation organisations, because the future survival of both the Javan and Sumatran Rhinos depends on effective conservation action in Indonesia. 

"Sumatran and Javan rhinos are among the most threatened species on Earth.  Unprecedented threats such as habitat loss and poaching have pushed these species, which have walked the Earth for more than 50 million years, towards a very real probability of extinction within our lifetime.  There must be concerted efforts among governments of range and consumer countries, such as Vietnam and China, to enforce laws and international treaties in order to stem this tide.  We applaud President Yudhoyono for this call to action which we hope will help to ensure the survival of these magnificent animals for future generations."  Dr. Susie Ellis, IRF Executive Director.

The government of Indonesia has also made commitments to establish a high-level rhino task force of national and international experts; allocate sufficient resources to enforce protection of remaining rhino populations, and ensure that there is regular and intensive monitoring of all rhino populations in Indonesia.

During this International Year of the Rhino, it is hoped that all rhino range states in Africa and Asia will join Indonesia and give priority to securing their rhino populations. There are ambitions to bring illegal hunting and trade, especially the illegal trade of rhino horn, under control by ensuring that effective deterrents are in place and enforced. It is also hoped that measures that encourage a rapid growth in rhino numbers will be taken. In Indonesia, extra action will be taken to translocate isolated individuals to actively managed protected areas and improve rhino habitats by removing invasive plant species and providing additional sources of water.

Story provided by the International Rhino Foundation