By Amelia Meyer
The International Rhino Foundation was founded in 1989 in response to the dramatic declines in Black Rhino population numbers in Zimbabwe, Southern Africa. At that stage, it was called the International Black Rhino Foundation, and was most effective in doing away with almost all poaching, and stabilising the Black Rhino population. However, it soon became clear that all rhino species faced enormous challenges and threats, and not only the Black Rhino.
It was in 1993, then, that the official name of the organisation changed to its current name, and that its efforts became globally relevant. The IRF takes an intensive approach;injecting vast amounts of time, money and resources into various rhino species at different times, depending on their needs.
The IRF focuses on areas and projects that will have the most significant and most positive effects. As and when necessary, the IRF will partner with various other organisations and companies in order to achieve maximum effects. Some of these partners include the Asian Rhino Project, Blue Rhino®, Micanopy Zoological Preserve, Disney’s Wildlife Conservation Fund Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Ecko Unlimited, Save The Tiger Fund, Sea World Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, Gilman Conservation International, White Oak Conservation Center (in fact, the IRF office is based here), USFWS Rhinoceros Tiger Conservation Fund, World Wildlife Fund, Yayasan Badak Indonesia, International Elephant Foundation, Taronga Conservation Society Australia, IUCN Asian Rhino Specialist Group, and IUCN Species Survival Commission.
Because the staff complement of the IRF is small, 85% of its revenue can be poured into the various conservation efforts being conducted in Asia and Africa the home continents of the different rhino species.
An important part of rhino conservation is conducting research on wild and captive populations. This requires expertise and funding. The IRF is a very active contributor to this facet of rhino conservation. By identifying trends, issues and successes, the IRF has a better understanding of these complex creatures and what is required to rescue them from the threat of extinction. Funding of research is expensive and, as usual, money dictates the extents to which the IRF can assist the ailing rhinos.
For more information on the International Rhino Foundation and how you can personally get involved in assisting in the preservation of rhinos, have a look at the IRF website. Their website is http://www.rhinos.org/
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