The rhino is one of the most endangered animals in the world. Poachers using sophisticated methods kill enormous numbers for their horns, which are thought by Chinese medicine advocates to have medicinal properties. This has been proved to be untrue and since it is impossible to stop the poachers, the only hope for the rhino is to persuade users of rhino horn that using it for medical treatment is a futile exercise.
The Indonesian President has declared 2012 as International Year of the Rhino and has urged countries to help save endangered species that have been hunted close to extinction.
The last twelve months have seen a worrying descent in the fortunes of the magnificent-but-endangered rhino. Poaching, to satisfy patently-false claims of medicinal benefits has killed a record number of rhinos - and led to the extinction of two species of rhino. With more extreme measure being called for to deal with the escalating crisis, will 2012 see a turning point in the rhino's prospects?
Figures from the South African National Parks show an increase in rhino poaching compared to last year. Despite global events such as World Rhino Day, designed to raise awareness of the plight of rhinos and the market for rhino horn, the trade in rhino horns has not decreased.
With World Rhino Day 2011 just around the corner (Thu 22nd Sep), and the future of the rhino under greater threat than for many years, a radical response has been required to the poaching menace - removing rhinos' horns. The work of de-horning at a conservation ranch in Zimbabwe is demanding, but is helping to stem losses, say conservation staff. Ultimately, though they see hope only when horn is no longer considered a medicine by the misled.
Action on rhino poaching in South Africa is putting more criminals behind bars for longer, but to protect these threatened animals, WWF says Asian governments need to act to cut demand too.
An expedition to some of Tibet's remotest and most inhospitable country has yielded a wonderful result in the shape of a previously unknown giant woolly rhino fossil. At 3.7 million years old, it's also the oldest woolly rhino ever found by some distance, predating the previous earliest find by some 1.1 million years.
Another important body in the Chinese medicinal community has come out strongly against the use of rhino horn in traditional remedies. The Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine has put out a statement condemning the practice, which may go a long way to shifting attitudes, and reducing demand for the horns of these endangered animals.
The Ujung Kulon National Park has an ambitious goal: to increase the Javan Rhino population by 50% over the next five years. The Ujung Kulon National Park, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992, is home to the world-s last remaining fifty Javan Rhinos.
Conservation groups have announced World Rhino Day 2011, for the 22nd September - with the aim of bigging up some noise, across the globe, for these endangered giants of the savanna. After a terrible 2010, with poaching rampant, the need to both halt the poaching gangs, and to kick rhino-horn out of the 'traditional medicine' cabinet has never been more urgent.
Well-equipped, sophisticated organized crime syndicates have killed more than 800 African rhinos in the past three years - just for their horns. Populations of African rhinos had been rising over the past few decades, with the population of Critically Endangered black rhino increasing to 4,840 in the most recent estimate, up from 4,240 in 2007.
A hidden camera holds proof that the Javan Rhinoceros is breeding in the wild. Recent footage from a hidden camera in Ujung Kulon National Park, Indonesia, has proven that the extremely rare Javan rhino is successfully breading in the wild. Much to the relief of the park rangers, footage was recorded of a mother rhino and its young calf feeding on the shrubbery in the park.