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Loutit, B.D., 1988. The Damaraland rhino. African Wildlife 42 (2): 66-68, figs. 1-7

Location: Africa - Southern Africa - Namibia
Subject: Distribution - Records
Species: African Rhino Species

Original text on this topic:
Poachers are always poised and ready to begin another slaughter campaign. It is therefore imperative that we continue monitoring the status of the black rhinoceros and keep up a strict surveillance of the area. We must maintain contact with the people who five in close proximity to the home ranges of the rhinoceros. Much of the habitat of the rhinoceros borders on farms which are inhabited by subsistence farmers and seminomadic family groups who move from waterhole to waterhole during the rainy season. The monitoring of rhinoceros movements requires surveillance and fieldwork covering an area of some 40000 square kilometres of ruggedly and terrain. Aerial surveillance is an important part of the monitoring programme. Although rhinoceros are notoriously difficult to spot from the air, we have experienced a certain amount of success due to the open terrain. Aerial coverage also acts as a deterrent to any would-be poachers and ajlows us to keep track of the movements of elephant and other game species. The main costs of the monitoring programme are locally funded by the `Save the Rhino Fund' in Swakopmund which gains support from The Wildlife Society of Southern Africa, the Southern African Nature Foundation and the Endangered Wildlife Trust. The Save the Rhino Fund works in co-operation with the Directorate of Nature Conservation and Recreation Resorts. The black rhinoceros in Africa has become an international celebrity; it has featured on the front cover of one of the world's most widely read political magazines (Newsweek, 11 August 1986), a space usually reserved for the politicians and Homo sapiens news makers. Has this fame and attention come in time to save this mammal of prehistoric countenance which has roved the earth for longer than 70 million years? The future existence of the Diceros bicornis species in Africa will depend largely on continued and intensified extension work, education and liaison with the local inhabitants. A more determined effort will have to be made to include the local people in the conservation of their wildlife resources and make it beneficial to them to protect their own heritage. But most important of all is the effort to gain the sympathy and co-operation that is so desperately needed from the very top circles of government in all the countries involved in the saga of the rhinoceros and its much sought after horn.

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