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IRF - International Rhino Foundation, 2018. 2018 request for rhino research proposals. Proposals invited by IRF

Location: World
Subject: Conservation
Species: All Rhino Species

Original text on this topic:
International Rhino Foundation

The International Rhino Foundation (IRF) is requesting proposals for research that is
directly applicable to management, propagation, and conservation of rhinoceros species
under intensive protection and management in the wild or maintained ex situ.
Proposals for research involving any scientific discipline(s) can be submitted and must
directly address one of the targeted IRF research priorities below. These priorities
include a subset of those developed at the Science Workshop on Best Practice Rhino
Management across Southern Africa earlier this year and at the AZA Rhino Research
Council 2018 meeting. These priorities were chosen because they address some of the
greatest challenges faced today in maintaining healthy, self-sustaining rhino populations
that will survive well into the future.
Research Priority Target Areas
Only proposals addressing the following will be considered. Examples provided are
meant to be illustrative, indicating a possible range of research topics.
1. Improving rhino population monitoring and/or tracking, for example,
• Testing and developing improved tools and technology for monitoring and
tracking rhinos in situ.
• Testing and developing improved tools and technology for monitoring and
tracking rhinos in large ex situ areas.
• Exploration of alternative low-power, long-range systems to track rhinos and
integrate anti-poaching data.
• Developing and testing systems/technologies to identify individual rhinos,
particularly from camera trap data.
2. Desk study documenting information on Sumatran rhino captures and
translocations in the 1980s.
The ecology and sociobiology of Asian rhinos differs vastly from that of the
African species. Primarily, anecdotal data are available on Sumatran rhino
captures from the 1980s. A desk study documenting information and lessons
learned from the captures in the 1980s would be a useful first step to lay the
groundwork for future Sumatran rhino search and rescue efforts.
3. Economic analysis of rhino conservation, for example,
• What economic values do rhinos contribute to national economies?
• How much do rhinos serve as proxy indicators for ecosystem processes and
other components of natural capital and what are the economic implications
arising from this?
• How much does rhino conservation cost (in a set of study sites) over and
above the basic per-area protection costs that need to be met for a typical
spectrum of other wildlife species in protected areas (private and state) in
• What economic stimuli could be applied to achieve extensive in-situ range
expansion options in areas which depends on small land units being induced
to merge with larger ones, such as South Africa?
4. Determination of the conservation value of different rhino populations, for
• Establishing an objective way (including genetic and demographic factors) to
ascertain a new or amended conservation value index for selected rhino
• Determining what is happening in terms of genetic exchange between small,
privately-owned groups of black and white rhinos in South Africa and
recommendations for future mechanisms.
• Reviewing the effects of any age/sex skewing, derivation of trend data on
inbreeding coefficients to help provide guidelines for the IUCN/SSC African
Rhino Specialist Group to amend current classifications (“Key”, “Important”,
to also include “Marginally viable,” “Non-viable”, etc.).
5. Investigating important factors affecting health, well-being and
reproduction ex situ, for example
• Epidemiology of health issues in the browsing rhino species
• Iron overload disorder (significance, detection, treatment, prevention)
• Reproductive dysfunction (stillbirths, acyclicity, anovulation, pregnancy loss)
• Impacts and control of obesity/over conditioning
• Factors impacting animal well-being and long-term welfare (could also apply to
wild rhinos recovering from traumatic injuries/orphans)
• Nutritional analysis of food plants most frequently fed to Sumatran rhinos at
the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Way Kambas National Park, including daily
food consumption comparison of food plants consumed by SRS rhinos.
** Grant funding awarded for Priority Target Areas 1, 3, and 4 will be eligible for
IRF’s Mark Hopkins Schell Research Award (up to $50,000 each for two winning
proposals). For more information about Mark Hopkins Schell, please see
Student Project Proposals
In addition, the IRF is soliciting student project proposals to provide seed money for
students entering the field of rhino conservation research. Student project costs
separately from the proposals submitted by established scientists. A minimum of three
(3) grants will be awarded to student projects.
Application Timeline
Proposals must be received by midnight Eastern Standard Time, 12 November
2018 and must follow the requested format to be considered for support. Proposals
should be sent to (If an applicant believes his/her proposal idea
is outstanding but does not address the priorities listed below, they can submit an
explanation of the idea in 250 words or less to by 15 August 2018.
If approved after review, the applicant be invited to submit a proposal.)
Projects selected for funding will be announced in January 2019.

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