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About International Rhino Foundation

More than 30 years ago, Zimbabwe’s black rhino population was decreasing at an alarming rate from intense, organized poaching. In response, a group of concerned individuals and institutions founded the Black Rhino Foundation in 1989 to assist in the conservation of black rhinos in Zimbabwe through efforts in the wild and in captivity. In part because of the Black Rhino Foundation’s support, poaching was virtually eliminated and Zimbabwe’ black rhino population began to stabilize. In most areas throughout the species’ range, numbers are now increasing. In 1993, recognizing that the escalating crisis facing all five rhino species was not receiving the attention it deserved, the Black Rhino Foundation expanded its mission and became the International Rhino Foundation (IRF). The International Rhino Foundation is dedicated to the survival of the world’s rhino species through conservation and research. At the heart of IRF’s vision is the belief that these magnificent species should endure for future generations, and that protecting rhinos ensures the survival of many other species that share their habitat, including people.


All five living rhino species (Black, White, Indian, Sumatran and Javan) are in terrible peril - from poaching, from forest loss and habitat conversion, and from human settlements encroaching on their habitats in Africa, Indonesia, and India. IRF works to protect particularly threatened rhino populations and their habitats in the wild, while also supporting management of and research on captive populations to improve the chances for long-term survival. IRF operates in situ programs in Asia and Africa targeted to the rhino species most in need of and most appropriate for intensive protection and management. These anti-poaching and protection programs also provide significant benefits for numerous other threatened species and for the entire ecosystems in which the animals live. In all our field programs, we work closely with local communities to ensure that those people living in closest proximity to rhinos, many of whom are also struggling as a result of poverty and environmental degradation, will serve as active partners in wildlife protection and will reap direct benefits from conservation efforts.


IRF’s current major programs include:  1) Indonesia Rhino Protection Units, anti-poaching patrol units which protect Sumatran and Javan rhinos in the wild; 2) the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary, a research and breeding center for Sumatran rhinos in Way Kambas National Park; 3) the Javan Rhino Study and Conservation Area, a program to expand the only viable habitat for Javan rhinos in the world by 4,000 hectares; 4) Indian Rhino Vision 2020, a program aimed at increasing the number of Indian rhinos and spreading the population out over more protected areas; 5) Zimbabwe Lowveld Rhino Conservation Program, which provides management, monitoring and veterinary interventions for black rhinos in Zimbabwe; and 6) Operation Stop Poaching Now, a campaign to provide training and equipment to anti-poaching units in Zimbabwe and South Africa.  IRF also supports scientific research, regularly providing grants for work that is directly applicable to management, propagation and conservation of rhinoceros species in nature and in captivity.


IRF is financially supported by around 900 individual “members”, along with zoos, private foundations, corporations and government agencies. The International Rhino Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors who generously contribute time and financial resources to its efforts. IRF maintains a very small staff. IRF’s lean structure allows more than 85% of its funds to go directly to its field programs in Africa and Asia. The IRF Office is based in Fort Worth, Texas (USA).