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FAIRPLANET is an online journalism platform, which is concerned with human rights issues and the way we, as humans, are treating our planet and its inhabitants.

In the following year, FAIRPLANET will accompany the work of the Hemmersbach Rhino Force, which faces the complex task of saving the rhinoceros and developing opportunities for local communities to become involved in nature conservation.

Click here to read all episodes on www.fairplanet.com or download the developing story as a PDF file (5,8 MB).

The Hemmersbach Rhino Force - Fair planet

The Hemmersbach Rhino Force - Fair planet

01. The Anthropocene: Age of Genocide

Authors: Frank Odenthal, Murat Suner | Source: Fairplanet

Unlike past mass extinctions, caused by events like asteroid strikes, volcanic eruptions and natural climate shifts, the current crisis is almost entirely caused by us — humans.

The good news is: we have experienced it before – and survived. Not us as humanity, but us as planet earth. Indeed our planet has been through mass extinctions of flora and fauna before.

Read the whole article on www.fairplanet.com


02. The iconic species of Rhinoceros

Author: Frank Odenthal | Source: Fairplanet

Once upon a time when God made all the animals he had them all make their own skins. To this effect, he gave them all a needle to sow them with. But the Rhino, being a bit clumsy, lost his needle and had to use a thorn instead. This is why his coat is so badly fitting. Tragically, he thought he might have swallowed the needle and this is why he can often be seen kicking his dung about. He is looking for his needle still so he can make a better coat.

Read the full article on www.fairplanet.com

The Hemmersbach Rhino Force - Fair planet

The Hemmersbach Rhino Force - Fair planet

03. Time is running out – Can we save the Rhino?

Authors: Frank Odenthal, Murat Suner | Source: Fairplanet

Looking at the numbers, there is no reason for optimism. According to recent estimates, no more than 30,000 rhinos are left on earth, including about 20,000 white rhinos and 5,250 black rhinos in Africa, as well as about 3,500 Indian rhinos and no more than 100 Java and Sumatran rhinos in Indonesia respectively..

In the first four extinctions, death came over a period of 20,000-100,000 years, which in geological terms is just a wink of time. For longterm condition changes like those nature seems to be able to adapt through mutations or migrations.

Read the full article on www.fairplanet.com


04. Rhinos and Humans - Victims and Perpetrators of Organised Crime

Author: Frank Odenthal | Source: Fairplanet

Africa’s rhino poaching problem is multifaceted. The interplay of its demand and supply side is fueled by poverty, greed, superstition, corruption, social injustice, ruthlessness and ignorance.

As the demand is mainly originated in Vietnam and China, wildlife crime is controlled by international syndicates. These syndicates are the reason for the significant increase in rhino poaching in Africa since 2007.

Read the full article on www.fairplanet.com

The Hemmersbach Rhino Force - Fair planet


The Hemmersbach Rhino Force - Fair planet

05. Recognising the social deprivation and cultural disruption is key to preserve wildlife

Author: Murat Suner | Source: Fairplanet

Tumi Morena has become one of South Africa’s best anti-poaching rangers – but this also come at a price. People from Tumi’s community see him as an intruder because he works for the white man.

He was once locked up in jail and left to share a cell with the poachers he arrested. The poachers started making noise, folding blankets, using them as drums and singing all at once – the racket is made to blur the sounds of cellmates being beaten or tortured.

Read the full article on www.fairplanet.com


06. Rhino-Force – a new and determined player on the horizon

Author: Frank Odenthal | Source: Fairplanet

In spring 2016, German entrepreneur and philantropist Ralph Koczwara founded Hemmersbach Rhino-Force as a 'direct action organisation' to take up the fight for the survival of rhinos. The anti-poaching unit is well equipped, patrolling around Greater Kruger with their 4WD-vehicles with 360° multi-sensor-camera, bulletproof vests, semi-automatic weapons, and latest night vision goggles.

But fighting poachers at Kruger Park is only one of three pillars of activities that Hemmersbach Rhino-Force is conducting. Koczwara also bought a 75,000-hectare site in neighboring Zimbabwe to re-locate Black Rhino that once lived here in Lower Zambezi Valley. And finally, he's putting up a biobank to save a minimum basis of genetic variety as a last resort.

Read the full article on www.fairplanet.com

The Hemmersbach Rhino Force - Fairplanet


The Hemmersbach Rhino Force - Fairplanet

07. Protecting the living rhino – the Anti-Poaching Ranger

Author: Frank Odenthal | Source: Fairplanet

In training camps in South Africa and Zimbabwe Hemmersbach Rhino-Force rangers prepare for the battle at the frontlines against poaching syndicates to save the rhinos. It's a boot camp, where they learn military drill, close combat techniques, and semi-automatic weapons use – and in addition how to carry out necropsies on animals and to take DNA samples.

For the Zimbabwean Unit of Hemmersbach Rhino-Force, legendary anti-poaching trainer Pete Clemence is in charge. He knows what it takes to be a good anti-poaching ranger. “Aggressive determination”, that is what it's all about, he claims. But since the syndicates are increasingly well equipped, fighting them has become a war of financial firepower as well.

Read the full article on www.fairplanet.com


08. Dr Imke Lüders – Saving the genetic variety of the species

Author: Frank Odenthal | Source: Fairplanet

Dr. Imke Lüders is an expert on assisted reproduction of large mammals. For Hemmersbach Rhino-Force, she will lead the project “Cryovault”, a biobank to save a minimum generic variety of rhino. Here she explains what assisted reproduction of endangered species looks like and what it takes.

According to Dr Lüders even a small number of rhino could be enough to ensure their survival, as it has been successfully done at the end of the nineteenth century. But she also knows that it's going to be very hard if the population is down to just a few remaining animals, as this is the case of the Javan Rhino or the Northern White Rhino. And she gives an inside view of what to expect from project “Cryovault”, the biobank, which is due to open in upcoming weeks.

Read the full article on www.fairplanet.com

The Hemmersbach Rhino Force - Fairplanet


The Hemmersbach Rhino Force - Fairplanet

09. Raising Rhinos: How to increase the population sustainably?

Author: Frank Odenthal | Source: Fairplanet

For many environmentalists Dr. Ian Player and his famous “Operation Rhino” is a role model for saving endangered species from extinction. “Hemmersbach Rhino-Force”-founder Ralph Koczwara's approach goes beyond Players ideas. His strategy consists of a 3-pillar-approach: stop poaching in South Africa; establish a bio bank to conserve genetic material; reintroduce rhino in a sanctuary in Zimbabwe.

Other strategies, like fostering private ownership of rhino, or lifting the ban on international horn trade, are subject to intense debates in South Africa and beyond. Applying latest technology not only in assisted reproduction, but also in surveying protected areas and monitoring endangered species might also prove helpful. The final goal: develop a sustainable model how humans and rhinos can co-exist peacefully on earth.

Read the full article on www.fairplanet.com