• Texas Rhinos?

    I found a program that is looking to relocate Rhinos from Africa to Texas in order to protect them.  Texas Rhinos seemed like a great idea, until I read a little deeper into what the organization stands for.  With the inability to track exactly how my funds will be used in a larger company, I’ve determined the best approach is a smaller organization, and one more local so I am able to monitor more closely the impact and effectiveness of such donations.  During looking around and monitoring the news it’s become more important lately to have facilities in the US to offer sanctuary to animals such as rhinos that may have been used in the circus or zoo but are no longer going to be used for them.  Recently, some large name circuses have posted they are going to stop operations involving animals such as these.

    While searching I came across a few articles on an organization that is looking to relocate Rhinos from Africa to Texas to protect them.  The organization is called the Exotic Wildlife Association and their program is called the Second Ark Foundation:  http://www.myewa.org/rhino-project.cfm

    The idea is that since we can’t ensure the safety of the Rhinos in Africa, a relocation effort to the more endangered species from Africa to similar habitats in Texas would offer an opportunity for the Rhinos to be protected.  In reading into the organization spearheading the effort I’m beginning to have doubts that this is organization to support.  Their primary mission is to support and protect the rights of farmers who may own exotic animals whether indigenous or not.  Part of that protection may include killing those animals if they own them and it’s within their right, whether for sport or food – it doesn’t go into much detail here.  There is even a comment that it looks to promote this methodology through Commerce.

    I understand that there may be benefits for the animals in offering them some new protections and opportunities but it makes me concerned that the organization involved is one that supports legal killing of exotic animals, and I would not want my money to support bringing Texas Rhinos, just so they can be hunted or harvested, regardless if they will be protected from poachers.

    Texas Rhinos may seem like a great idea, but perhaps another organization should be spearheading this campaign, perhaps one that advocates for the animals, not the farmers.  I can’t confidently pledge my support to this organization but there are many others out there so I will continue the search for the best organization protecting and helping Rhinos.

  • Live Video Nature Site

    I remember running across a live video nature site a couple years back that let me connect with the world from my desk.  I re-checked the site and it has continued to expand, adding additional live cameras to several other categories.  I knew the site from watching live footage of the Katmai Bears at Brooks Falls and enjoyed the experience of seeing live bears catch fish at any time of the day, not edited, but live as they would be out in the wild.  In addition to the Bears they now have Pandas, African River Wildlife, Long Eared Owl, Sauces Bald Eagles, Ecad Puppies, and Big Cat Rescue.

    I suggest everyone take some time to get outdoors and explore the world at this site.  There are so many great videos and live cameras that most everyone should be covered by something on this site.

    http://explore.org

    As I’m writing this I selected the African River Wildlife and incredibly the cameras has panned over to a large boulder in the river that I’m sure will come alive and present itself as a Hippo.  This has inspired me this morning and could present an excellent way for thousands of people around the world to take notice of these animals and also Rhinos.  It may serve another purpose as well by allowing people to help monitor cameras and protect the Rhinos.

    I looked into how I can get a camera specifically for Rhinos but upon reviewing the site it looks like these cameras cost upwards of $400,000 and were provisioned for by grants and other larger pledges.  I don’t think James Comfort is prepared to step up to that level yet, but something to keep in mind for the future.  For now I can just spread the message on this live video nature site.

  • Technology can save Rhinos

    Technology can save Rhinos by advancing our ability to monitor through cameras, movement sensors, information, and drones. The advancement and implementation of these technologies is critical in the effort to stop poaching. Today there are thousands of square miles of protected wilderness in remote regions around the world. But without someone to watch over those areas the protection doesn’t occur. Mostly understaffed or under-budgeted, these protection areas are serving as a beacon for poachers looking for endangered animals such as Rhinos. With new drone and camera technology we may soon be able to implement strategies to monitor large areas for animal activity and poachers. Drones serve as a short term approach as they can only stay up for a short period of time. A more consistent approach may require that small balloons are put in the air on a tether with a camera hanging for monitoring a large area.

    If the Rhinos are tagged with beacons or tracking devices the logic can be implemented in a system to have the camera track the Rhino’s location. This may not prevent poachers immediately, however the ability to review camera footage would provide invaluable information for tracking down and punishing those responsible.  Check out this Rhino Foundation actively using drones to enhance support and protection: https://www.savetherhino.org/rhino_info/thorny_issues/the_use_of_drones_in_rhino_conservation

    Technology should be viewed as an opportunity to proactively prevent further murder of Rhinos and other endangered animals. One camera high in the air to monitor a large area may prove more effective than 20 people on the ground. As a reactive approach drone technology can save rhinos by quickly obtaining information on an area or particular animal suspected to be under stress.  This is even more advantageous where a car may be invasive, possibly dangerous (if poachers or animals are present), and much slower to traverse the terrain.

    I would like to see more charities that collect millions of dollars for Rhino preservation enhance their use of such technologies for large scale implementation. The results would likely prove that technology can save Rhinos and many other species.

  • Identifying the Top Rhino Charities

    Identifying the Top Rhino Charities, Foundation, or Conservation can be a very difficult process. Some sites mention hundreds of Rhino Charity organizations, but how many are under the same umbrella just vying for a niche of attention and how many others are legitimate and put funds to good use. Numerous companies have made work out of identifying the Top Rhino Charities by evaluating the actual effect each dollar has to a charity and how much of that actually makes it way to the intended cause, in this case the Rhinos. One such site highlights this very well by presenting dollars received, and how much of it goes to program expenses, admin and fundraising. They even posted some of the top CEO’s salaries? Granted that running any large organization efficiently requires a certain expertise and commitment, perhaps the CEOs are making too much. Check out the site and judge for yourself: http://africaanswerman.com/best-conservation-charities/
    As part of my own investigation I put together a list of 15 or so large Rhino Charities, and visited each site in an attempt at Identifying the Top Rhino Charities.

    International Rhino Foundation
    The Kariega Foundation – Save the Rhino

    Save the Rhino International
    SANParks Honorary Rangers
    Forever Wild
    WWF Global

    International Rhino Keeper Association
    The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

    WILD Foundation
    The Rhino Orphanage
    African Wildlife Foundation

    Project Rhino KZN
    National Wildlife Federation
    Wildlife Conservation Network
    WESSA Rhino Initiative

    Black Rhino Range Expansion Programme (BRREP)

    Wildlife ACT Fund

    Then I tried to identify whether or not they are ideal for me to work with by reviewing their location, the contact information, where they support, and overall whether they look legitimate. I narrowed my list from 15 down to 3, 1 of which didn’t have an email listed.
    Project Rhino KZN http://www.projectrhinokzn.org/
    International Rhino Foundation http://rhinos.org/

    I sent each of these companies a note that read:

    Dear xxxxx,
    I did a lot of research over the net and on your website and am impressed with the number of quality programs you have to support Rhinos. I founded a company that pledges to support Rhino foundations and your company aligns with my mission. At this time I don’t have any sales as my company is very new. I have inventory and my website established. I would be interested in partnering with you. At this time I don’t have any funds to pledge however I would be able to pledge a portion of my proceeds to you and send you a variety of my polos with my unique rhino & anchor design. In addition I can add a partner page and would post about the new partnership formed and the efforts this partnership supported. Even if the shirts aren’t worn by you, it may provide the opportunity for you to hand a few out to visitors to continue building awareness of the plight of the rhinos. Please let me know if you are interested and what support I can offer to your organization.
    Thanks,

    To my surprise I didn’t receive any reply at all from these organizations. This makes me wonder from an organizational concept if there are complexities with partnering that perhaps I don’t understand yet. To this date I have not received any interest in this partnership but will continue to try and post as soon as I make any progress as I attempt Identifying the Top Rhino Charities.

  • Racing Extinction

    Anticipation is building for the Watch with the World event on the show Racing Extinction. The show appears to shed light on endangered species and animals massacred on a large scale for commercial purposes. Commercials have shown investigations into illegal whaling and killing sharks for fins however did not see any reference to Rhinos, Elephants, Tigers, etc… Looking forward to viewing the show and seeing some of these animals where efforts are critically needed in order to save them from extinction.

    The asian market above most appears to drive much of the appetite for endangered species’ products such as the Rhino Horn, elephant tusks, shark fins, and whale meat. Efforts should not only be put towards informing the US market about these harmful activities but more importantly should target Asian markets which are a main consumer of these products. In order to be effective a large-scale campaign would likely be needed.

    Many of us have seen the show whale-wars and its shocking images of whale killing and the efforts to prevent it, however these shows may not reach the asian market and to what degree they view these shows is unknown. Likewise, information on the risk of extinction to animals such as the Rhino should be pushed to not only Asia, the primary consumer, but to African countries that partake in the poaching and killing of these animals to raise awareness among the community.

    In addition to active killing of these animals it appeared the show would highlight some of the negative impact humans, human activities, and industrialization have had on the environment in which these animals live.

    Racing exctinction is a welcome show in the effort to reduce the killing of animals such as the Rhino but additional efforts and shows should become more frequent around the world if a true turnaround is to occur.

  • Sharks And Rhinos

    Shark Week is making waves…. But what about all the species of animals that are misunderstood? I watched several of the shark week shows on the Discovery Channel throughout the week and it’s apparent that there is a large push from scientists and individuals to get the message out that sharks’ image is hurting itself.

    These bold explorers are pushing the point that sharks aren’t the cold killers we envision them as, but beautiful creatures that have mastered their environment and are just trying to survive. Many of the attacks that have taken place provoke thoughts of these animals attacking human kind, but the scientists are pushing new motives. Some of these attacks may be exploratory, or defensive. We should keep in mind that we are entering their world, a world many would say we barely know and understand.

    These innovative thoughts are huge step forward for man and bring us much closer to understanding our ecosystem. Hopefully in the future these types of documentaries, stories, and shows will filter into other domains, such as the African wilderness. There are numerous animals still not understood.

    Although the Rhinos do get a lot of attention in the US and there are several organizations attempting to help them such as www.wearjamescomfort.com, this is a small step in a world of several billion people.

    Sharks are netted and fished for a prized piece, the fin much like Rhinos are poached for their horns.  The fins of a shark can fetch thousands of dollars and draw many similarities for their market to the Rhino and Elephant. The Fins of sharks are used in medicinal soups and other recipes across much of Asia.  It appears there is a similar plight between Sharks and Rhinos.

    If Shark Week can find a way to curb the market on Shark Fins and hunting them, perhaps others investing in the preservation of endangered species like Rhinos and Elephants can follow step and curb the demand for tusks and horns. Let’s hope the trend continues and Shark Week can attack the root problem of much of the shark hunting and killing and use that in the future for other animals.

  • Identifying a Rhino Preservation Organization

    The human population is exploding, driving food needs up and reducing natural habitat. This means that more and more animals are now at risk for endangerment. Many animals have been brought out of endangerment through efforts around the world, but many still remain at risk for decreasing habitats or poaching. Three that come to the forefront of this battle are Rhinos, Tigers, and Elephants.

    It’s for plights like these that we chose to develop an innovative strategy that allows us to both provide comfortable clothes and support animals in danger. As you can see on the site, wearjamescomfort.com, we have some products to offer. Now, choosing an animal charity to support will be the next challenge, as the market is flooded with so many trying to help. How does one go about finding a Rhino Preservation Organization and choosing one that will provide the maximum amount of support for the money provided? There are several different types of charities that should be analyzed. These range from direct watch and protection programs, such as the Javan Rhino Conservation Program and the Borneo Rhino Alliance, to the programs that research and monitor trade trends of animals. Even in our own backyard can we find sanctuaries for such animals like the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. (http://www.rhinos.org/javan-rhino-conservation-program, http://www.borneorhinoalliance.org/, http://www.elephants.com/)

    As we begin the search for charities to partner with we will detail the findings, the pros and cons of each, and exactly how our donations will help.

    So how can we do our part? With the creation of james comfort apparel we hope to contribute to the goal of saving animals around the world. With a staple product that is sure to please we’re confident we can help the great charities doing work to help stop the depletion of such endangered animals. In the interim the company will only be able to provide ~10% of proceeds to help the animals as innovation, development, and growth will compound the amount of monies that can be provided at a later time to such animal funds.

    Until the next posting we urge you to look for yourselves and if you have any guidance, please share with all of us.

    Sincerely,

    james comfort