The Black and White Rhinoceros of Africa are on the verge of extinction due to excessive poaching, driven by a burgeoning market for rhinoceros horn in China and Vietnam. Despite continued efforts from the South African government and other in situ conservation attempts in African nations, the situation continues to deteriorate, with a current estimate of one rhino being poached every eight hours in South Africa. Rhino poaching has escalated in recent years, and experts believe the current wave will this year reach the highest levels for two decades - driven by demand from Vietnam for ‘medicinal’ rhinoceros horn and as a status symbol amongst a new generation of users.
It is in light of these dire circumstances that The Australian Rhino Project was born. Founded by Ray Dearlove, the ultimate goal of The Australian Rhino Project is to ensure the survival of these majestic species by making a significant contribution to ex situ conservation breeding efforts in order to ensure species survival outside of Africa where the issue persists.
The objective of such programs is to maintain a viable population outside of South Africa, with targeted genetic and demographic management that will allow for the repatriation of African rhinoceros back to their natural habitat and homelands. The scope of this objective should not be underestimated, as it could be generations before this environment is secure and free from poaching.
What we do
The Australian Rhino Project is committed to establishing a breeding herd of rhinos in Australia as an insurance population for the world.
The Australian Rhino Project in 2012 commissioned a feasibility study to understand the factors associated with establishing a rhino breeding herd in Australia. The feasibility study reviewed all aspects of the project including breeding, vegetation, costs, transportation considerations, sourcing etc. Using the key findings of the study, in 2014, the Australian Rhino Project was established with a fully incorporated board. The project was awarded DGR (deductible gift recipient) status in 2015, meaning that all donations in Australia are fully tax deductible.
The Australian Rhino Project has the specific mission to establish a breeding herd of rhinos in Australia as an insurance population for the world. The process of relocating rhinos to Australia is complex and requires many levels of reviews and approvals. The Australian Rhino Project has worked extensively with both the South African and Australian Governments throughout this process.
The first rhinos have been identified and the process for gaining approvals is well progressed.