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Lightening talks added to event!

This coming Thursday’s ‘Don’t let me go‘ rhino conservation evening is looking like its going to be an amazing night and one not to be missed! Music and dance is on the cards and during the evening (from 7pm) we also have lightening talks by Manchester PhD students and public debates planned. From 8pm Daryl Lott will also be speaking and representing Rhino 911. Daryl has been to South Africa to carry out rhino research, behavioural studies, anti-poaching protection work and also horn trimming.

Daryl’s passion for rhino conservation has grown thanks to him sharing time with the inspiring individuals that dedicate there lives conserving them. He hopes he can do the same through the sharing of knowledge gained and encouraging others to take action. Daryl will also be discussing the anti-poaching methods of Rhino dehorning and the active work of the conservation team Rhino 911. He says “Rhino poaching is currently at its worst – they need our help, there is no doubt about that. The thought that our children may not know of a wild rhino is nothing short of a tragedy”.

Rhino 911 provide emergency helicopter rescue to Rhinos injured or orphaned due to poaching and other injuries. They have responded to over 140 calls for help since their inception. They use every availble resource to ensure rhinos do not fade away into a memory, like so many other animals that have become extinct.


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Summaries of Lightening talks by Manchester PhD students and public debates planned for the ‘Don’t let me go‘ event:

7pm: Franziska Elsner Gearing, PhD student, University of Manchester. Talk title: Using genetics to manage Critically Endangered Eastern Black rhinos.
With only 740 Eastern black rhino estimated to remain in Africa, the ex-situ population of around 100 animals in European zoos can play an important role in the restoration of the species. But where did they come from? What genetic diversity has been preserved? And how might their novel ex-situ environment have affected these animals across generations? These are the questions Franziska and team set out to answer using genetic analyses and to use the results in planning the future management of their Eastern black rhinos.

7.20: Sarah Scott, PhD student at the Manchester Metropolitan University. Talk Title: Applying knowledge of white rhinoceros social behaviour to their conservation management
Rhinoceros species worldwide are threatened with extinction due to the ongoing threat from illegal poaching. Consequently, they require intensive monitoring and management to remain viable. White rhinoceros have a very well developed communication system, and are the most social of the five rhinoceros species. Incorporating knowledge of white rhinoceros social behaviour into management strategies could therefore help to improve their success. This talk will explore white rhinoceros grouping patterns in the wild, and the potential role of social behaviour in their breeding success and conservation management.

7.40: Joana Borges, PhD student at the Manchester Metropolitan University. Talk Title: Black Rhino’s of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) was designated as  UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its natural and cultural values. It attracts thousands of tourists and is one of the best places to see  black rhinos in the wild. Due to an intense period of poaching in the 70s and 80s, the black rhino population in the NCA dropped from 110 to only 13 individuals in 1993. Nowadays, despite the absence of poaching, population numbers are still lower than expected. A combination of factors, such as habitat changes, genetic constraints and human presence could explain this. My research is currently focusing on the vegetation changes (including spread of invasive plants) and how they affect black rhino diets and carrying capacity in the NCA. I will also be using genetic tools to confirm population numbers, paternity and levels of inbreeding.


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