In January 2018, rangers working at Addo Elephant National Park in South Africa’s Eastern Province encountered a disoriented black rhino walking in circles.
The animal soon became known as Mono, a rare subspecies of the bicornis bicornis that had lost retinas in both eyes.
After he was calmed down by the park’s veterinary team, he was safely transferred to a facility that specializes in The founder of the praying mantis came down, South Africa.
“Every rhino counts, so we’re giving it a second chance,” says Paul Gardiner, CEO of the Mantis Foundation.
Since he settled in his new surroundings, Mono was able to leave his pen and roam across five hectares of the surrounding wilderness.
It benefits from 24-hour monitoring, advanced protection against poaching – and even a built-in music system.
“If you stand in his enclosure, there’s a constant broadcast of a radio station he loves,” Gardiner explains.
Pressed on Munu’s favorite musical genre, the CEO of Mantis couldn’t help but laugh.
Hard Rock smiles.
What are the dangers facing the rhinoceros in Africa?
During the 20th century, European poachers decimated black rhinos in Africa.
Between 1960 and 1995, their numbers declined by a staggering 98 percent, leaving fewer than 2,500 individuals in the wild.
Like the white rhino, the black rhino is killed for its horns, which attracts high prices for its use in traditional Chinese ornaments and medicines.
In South Africa alone, 594 rhinos were killed for their horns in 2019 – a huge improvement over the 1,215 individuals killed in 2014 when the problem was at its peak.
This decline also has a lot to do with successful monitoring and conservation plans in South Africa coronavirus pandemic.
In 2020, the country’s poaching numbers fell for the sixth consecutive year, with just 394 rhinos killed for their horns.
The environment ministry attributed this to the country’s strict lockdown restrictions, which prevented the movement of potential rhino horn smugglers.
symbol of hope
As poaching numbers continue to decline, protected rhinos like Mono reflect a Growing interest in wildlife conservation across South Africa.
Guests in The founder of the praying mantis came down A herd to visit the blind animal, which soon became an ambassador for its species.
“When Mono acclimatized here, we realized that people could get as close to him as one meter,” says Brett Barlow, Mono’s lead caregiver at the facility.
“This is a rare opportunity for ambassadors and education.”
As well as welcoming guests through Rhino effect experienceMantis launched a community outreach project. This allows local school children to visit Munu and develop an early interest in the natural world.
“Building these oversights on local children is critical to saving the species,” Barlow adds.
“Through education, the next generation can be deterred from poaching and become guardians of the nature they neighbor.”
Conservationists now hope to find a companion for Munu so they can create breeding program that could support the enumeration of the bicornis bicornis subspecies.
“Had Mono not gone blind, he would have continued to be a major breeder for the next 10 or 12 years,” Barlow continues.
“We hope that successful mono-to-female breeding will result in offspring that can then be donated to South African national parks – and provide a valuable new strain.”
Watch the video above to learn more about blind rhino mono.