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  SOS Rhino : In The News : Newsletter : 2008

SOS Rhino Review

Welcome to the SOS Rhino Review, a newsletter about rhinos from SOS Rhino. You'll find links to interesting articles here as well as updates on our efforts to save rhinos.


Our previous newsletter focused on news from the 4th Sumatran Rhinoceros Conservation Workshop held in Sabah in July of 2007. 

Much progress has been made and many exciting changes have taken place since then.  You’ll find more information and links to stories in sections 1 and 2 of this issue of the SOS Rhino Review.

And now, let's go to the rhino news.

1. Feature Stories
2. World Rhino News
3. Donor Appreciation
4. Find It On Our Web Site
5. Frequently Asked Questions
6. How You Can Help
7. Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
8. About Us

Full Stories Are Available Via Web Links


1. Feature Stories

Sabah Wildlife Department Honors SOS Rhino with Appreciation Ceremony and Welcomes New Members to the SOS Rhino Borneo Board

SOS Rhino has moved forward on one of its major goals to bring the Borneo rhino back to the front of conservation efforts in Sabah, Malaysia. Two videos of wild rhinos by SOSR rangers in the last year have accentuated the success of these efforts. The following highlights exemplify the progress that has been made:

  1. The Sabah Wildlife Department is spearheading the State rhinoceros conservation taskforce and called on the local police to help them institute a zero tolerance for illegal hunting in the reserves.
  2. A project launched by the federal government of Malaysia in January 2008, the Sabah Development Corridor, recognized the need for specific conservation action in relation to the endangered status of the rhino in Sabah and is now high on the State’s priority list.
  3. Sabah’s Minister of Tourism Culture and the Environment (MTCE), YB Datuk Masidi Manjun, welcomes and encourages assistance from NGOs, but stated emphatically that the state and national government must make saving the last rhinos of Malaysia a top priority.
  4. The MTCE and Sabah Wildlife Department hosted a highly publicized Appreciation Ceremony for SOS Rhino to recognize the contributions to rhinoceros conservation in Sabah.
  5. Two of SOS Rhino Borneo’s Board Directors are on the State’s rhinoceros conservation taskforce.

 In line with SOS Rhino’s mission to capacitate all local stake holders in wildlife and habitat conservation, we called for the government to continue to spearhead a consortium effort between government and business to save the rhino. Their cause will be saving the rhino as a symbol of their dedication to their natural environment with the hope that the international community will become involved in this coalition.
Keeping up the focus on the rhino locally is an expanded SOS Rhino Borneo board. SOSRB is a local NGO established in 2003. Its Sabah-based board of highly skilled qualified and dedicated conservation leaders offered to advise the Sabah Wildlife Department's accelerated effort to bring the conservation of the Sumatran rhinoceros in Borneo to the next level. In the appreciation ceremony, Sabah Wildlife Department extended their gratitude to the new board for their assistance.
SOS Rhino Borneo's four new board members bring an increase in local expertise in the missions of the program such as surveying and research. They will keep the government, oil palm plantations and local community around Tabin Wildlife focused on the rhino. SOS Rhino Borneo will work together with the key relevant government agencies and NGOs to proactively address their needs in terms of expertise and manpower.

We would like to pass the appreciation on to our partners. You have facilitated a brighter future for the Sumatran rhino in Borneo and we encourage your further assistance to this dedicated SOSRB board. Thank you to all.

2. World Rhino News

Male rhino 'in his prime' delight

WILDLIFE experts in Sabah were caught off guard on Aug 5 when a Sumatran rhinoceros ventured out of its forest habitat and made its way into an oil palm estate.

Sabah Wildlife Department veterinarians and rangers, with field officers from SOS Rhino Borneo and WWF-Malaysia in tow, rushed to the estate to see an adult male in his prime roaming one corner of the plantation. It seemed like an answer to their prayers.

The animal's sudden appearance comes at a time when conservationists are pooling resources to start a captive breeding programme to boost Sabah's dwindling rhino population, estimated at 30 in number.

Sabah Wildlife Department director Laurentius Ambu said the state Rhino Task Force, which was set up after the Fourth Sumatran Rhino Conservation Workshop a year ago, was the government's way of showing its commitment to saving the species.

Click to read the full news article

Rare Images Captured in the Wild

KOTA KINABALU: Scientists doing research in the jungles of Sabah have recently returned with some exciting photographs.

One was a picture of the rare Sumatran rhinocerous captured with a motion triggered camera, while the other was a series of images of two adult elephants helping a month-old calf across a river.

Sabah Wildlife Department director Laurentius Ambu said both achievements would go a long way in efforts to preserve the two rare and endangered species in the Sabah jungles.

"Monitoring and protection of the animals through the research work done by scientists can boost their number as it helps deter poachers and secure habitat from further degradation and illegal encroachment."

Click to read the full news article

3. Donor Appreciation

SOS RHINO wishes to acknowledge the following individuals, organizations, and foundations for their generous support of our programs. Their support comes in many forms: donation of their expertise and time, funds for specific programs and equipment, and donation of products. THANK YOU!

Click HERE to view the list of our donors!

4. Find It On Our Web Site

SOS Rhino Borneo

Almost all hope for the Borneo rhino had evaporated before SOS-Rhino began working in Sabah in 1998.  SOS-Rhino helped protect the remaining Sumatran rhinos in Sabah, and returned the species’ plight to the fore among national and international conservation concerns. Local and international NGOs and corporations are now actively involved, and Sabah’s government formed a task force to address rhino conservation in Sabah.  We are very pleased with this development, and the increased attention that Borneo’s last rhinos are presently receiving.

SOS Rhino BORNEO was formed in 2003 as a local NGO and will remain with a Sabah-based board of highly skilled, qualified and dedicated conservation leaders. This is a positive development that has been further supported by the Sabah government's renewed enthusiasm for continuing its rhino conservation work.

SOS Rhino Borneo has become stronger and even more effective and is proceeding with the next steps. Their major activities will be maintenance of the existing rhino protection units in Tabin Wildlife Reserve, along with research, community outreach, and other support for the Borneo rhinoceros, including appointment in the government's rhino task force.

Click to read the full news article

5. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What are the reasons for the continual decreasing rhino population?

2. Why do rhinos have horns?

3. Do rhinos really stomp out fires?

6 . How You Can Help

Adopt a rhino or buy a t-shirt:

Participate in the Rhino Conservation Expedition:

7. Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

1. It is highly priced for its horn, which is supposed to have medicinal properties. This belief is very common in Far Eastern countries like China.

Its natural habitat is taken away by the growing human population. Land is converted for use in agriculture or roads, forests are still logged for hardwood. Poaching is a very serious threat. It is also still intensifying.

2. The horns are very well developed in the two species in Africa (black and white rhinos), but much smaller in the three species in Asia (Sumatran with 2 very small horns, Indian and Javan with one horn).  The Asian species certainly do not use the horns to fight or to defend themselves, they use their incisors (sharp front teeth for the purpose). The horns have come about in evolution and they had (have) a general function to impress members of the opposite sex. 

Horns are also used for digging in waterbeds to find water, or to uproot shrubs etc.  Some rhinos use the horn to guide their offspring.  This is generally the front horn, the second horn does not have a very specific purpose at the moment.  We suppose that they had some purpose in the course of evolution.

3. There are quite a number of legends about the rhinoceros stamping out fire. The story seems to have been common in Malaysia and Burma. This type of rhinoceros even had a special name in Malay, 'badak api', where badak means rhinoceros and api means fire. The animal would come when a fire is lit in the forest and stamp it out.

If there is or can be any truth in the legend, it would be hard to decide. Suffice it to say that there has been no sighting of this phenomenon in recent history.

Of course, the rhinoceros in South East Asia has become very rare is hardly ever met nowadays, as it keeps to the deep forest and high mountains.

8. About Us

SOS Rhino is a non-profit, international foundation dedicated to preserving the five rhinoceros species in their natural habitats. Through diverse stakeholder support, SOS Rhino develops and funds rhino conservation and awareness programs appropriate to individual countries, providing these countries with the information and tools to build lasting rhino conservation.

It is our goal to secure a place for this ancient animal in tomorrow's world.

Click to read the full news article

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