For Immediate Release
31 July 2006
Kota Kinabalu -- SOS Rhino Borneo’s (SOSRB) Rhino Protection Units (RPUs) directly engage local governments, villagers, local businesses and the oil palm plantations surrounding the Reserve in the effort to protect the forest. By securing the assistance of these stakeholders, the SOSRB Protection Units more efficiently monitor and patrol the Reserve and cut off all potential entry or exit points utilized by encroachers. SOSRB has established a collaborative program that requires units to be highly mobile and responsive.
Protection, at its most basic level, involves securing Reserve boundaries and monitoring the jungle via constant patrolling. SOS Rhino has been a continuous presence in Sabah and has assisted various organizations such as the, Sabah Forestry Department, Sabah Foundation, University of Malaysia Sabah (UMS), WWF-Malaysia (Asian Rhino and Elephant Action Strategy), and the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD). Since 2002, SOSRB’s rangers have become the Sabah Wildlife Department’s honorary game wardens.
“Since we started our constant joint patrols in 2001 with the Wildlife Department, the evidence of human illicit activities in the forest have decreased significantly”, said Dr Schaffer, President of SOS Rhino.
In addition to assisting the Sabah Wildlife Department with anti-poaching measures, SOSRB Protection Units have helped gather important demographic information on local rhino ecology. The RPUs continually assess the Sumatran rhino’s distribution and population density and this information is incorporated into the region’s wildlife management and protection plans.
The Sumatran rhino is highly endangered due to poaching and human encroachment within their natural habitat. With only 300 remaining worldwide, the Sumatran rhino is the most unique of the five rhino species living today. The smallest in size, it is known as the "hairy rhino" due to the course hair covering its entire body. The Sumatran rhino currently lives in pocket populations in the rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia, and Malaysian Borneo.
For more information on SOS Rhino and Borneo Rhino Protection Units, visit: http://www.sosrhino.org/programs/index.php