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SOS Rhino : In the News : Kerry's challenge is to save rhino - Jungle adventure raises awareness

Kerry's challenge is to save rhino - Jungle adventure raises awareness

  by Katrina Condie
Milton Ulladulla/Sussex Inlet TIMES
Thursday, 29 April 2004

Former Ulladulla High School student Kerry Crosbie (front) sets off on the ´Borneo Rhino Challenge═ with fellow Perth Zoo keeper Clare Campbell on Friday.

Kerry Crosbie's passion for Rhinos is taking her to the summit of Borneo's Mount Kinabalu.

Founder of the Perth-based Asian Rhino Project, the former Ulladulla High School student this Friday sets off on the adventure of a lifetime to raise awareness and funds for three endangered Asian rhinoceros species.

Kerry will join fellow Perth Zoo keeper Clare Campbell in the 'Borneo Rhino Challenge' organised by USA group SOS Rhino.

The pair will be among 20 participants from around the globe to take part in the two-week challenge which will see them climb to the summit of Mount Kinabalu, 13,422 feet above sea level, before cycling 85 miles around the Kudat Peninsula.

The participants will complete the challenge with a two-day trek through the jungle of the Tabin Wildlife Reserve searching for signs of the elusive Sumatran Rhino.

Kerry said her love for the Asian rhinos came about after working with Southern White Rhinos and other exotic animals at Perth Zoo.

"I first learned of the three endangered rhino species from a UK rhino keeper and decided to research them.

"When I discovered how seriously endangered they were I decided to start an organisation to raise funds and awareness for the species.

"Many people don't even know Sumatran Rhinos exist," Kerry said.

The hairy Sumatran Rhino is a direct descendant of the extinct Woolly Rhino.

There are 300 Sumatran Rhino left in the wild, while there are 2,400 Indian Rhino and only 60 Javan Rhino.

Kerry formed the Asian Rhino Project about 12 months ago and the team has been raising funds and gaining sponsorship in the lead up to the Rhino Challenge.

She said the project had already purchased GPS systems for researchers in Borneo.

"Funds raised by the project will be used to purchase equipment to assist in the research and preservation of the Asian Rhino.

"We will be purchasing the equipment to ensure the money is well spent.

"Human encroachment from the rivers is a big problem, so we'll be providing equipment like boat engines for use by park rangers, along with GPSs, satellite phones and other essential equipment."

Kerry said poaching, habitat destruction and fragmentation were leading to the loss of the species.

"I hope by taking part in the challenge and through the Asian Rhino Project I can raise support and awareness of these endangered species."

Kerry, the daughter of Mary and Dick Norris, grew up in Milton, attending Milton Public and Ulladulla High Schools before taking on a pastoral traineeship in the Northern Territory.

Since she was a young girl she's always dreamed of working in a zoo - especially with big cats.

Her dream came true when she commenced work in the Exotic Section at the Perth Zoo seven years ago.

Her love for animals, rhinos in particular, has taken her around the world where she has visited other zoos and attended conferences.

"It's amazing how hard people are trying to save these species.

"Zoos in the past have tried to set up captive breeding programs for the Sumatran Rhino but only one animals has reproduced in captivity in the past 114 years.

"The Javan Rhinos numbers are so low in the wild that zoos don't hold them at all.

"They need some serious help in the wild."

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