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SOS Rhino : About SOS Rhino

About SOS Rhino


SOS Rhino is a non-profit, international foundation dedicated to preserving the five rhinoceros species in their natural habitats. Our conservation programs combine research, education, marketing and advocacy, all working collectively to achieve sustainable results.

Through diverse stakeholder support, SOS Rhino develops and funds rhino conservation and awareness programs appropriate to individual countries, providing these countries with the knowledge and tools to build lasting rhino conservation.

It is our goal to secure a place for this ancient animal in tomorrow’s world.


Our broad approach to conservation evolved from over 20 years of experience supporting and creating various rhino conservation programs. These programs include technical assistance and training, the funding of research on medical, nutritional and reproductive problems, building of cage-restraint systems, consulting on care and management of rhinos in captivity and the wild, as well as creating multi-media presentations for education and awareness. We apply this diverse range of expertise to our primary focus, field-based operations.

Our field programs apply methods that directly build on the capacity of countries to conserve by raising local awareness and assisting protection of habitat and animals. We employ and train local personnel who understand the situation, and can effectively respond to the issues. We garner support from many sectors including local government, business, academic and cultural interests to create a sustainable conservation program in countries with rhinos. The organization’s administrative costs are endowed allowing 100% of contributions donated to directly support targeted programs.

When work began with the rhinos, minimal reproductive information was available. Dr. Schaffer, founder and president of SOS Rhino, along with researchers associated with the organization, furthered the understanding of reproduction of four out of the five species of rhinoceros. Our technical expertise led to the first captive bred born Sumatran rhino birth in 112 years at the Cincinnati Zoo in September 2001.

Presently, one of our major programs is helping to save the last population of rhinos on the island of Borneo, the most endangered of the species, the Sumatran rhino. Because of the ongoing threat of shrinking natural habitats and constant pressure from poaching, the population continues to be in jeopardy. We immediately responded to the request of the Malaysian government’s Sabah Wildlife Department to assist their Rhino Protection Units (RPU) and evaluate the fertility potential within their captive animals. We are fostering support from villages and plantation owners surrounding the rhino reserve by instituting ecotourism. We are alerting the public to this rhino’s crisis through national and international educational programs and events such as sports challenges, exhibits and televised public service announcements. We established a local affiliate non-profit that is generating local support and understanding. With estimates of fewer than 300 Sumatran rhinos remaining, immediate action on this rhino is critical.

SOS Rhino research programs have been funded by the MacArthur Foundation, the Institute of Museum Services, the Milwaukee County Zoo and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife. Our researchers are consultants for zoos, institutions and governments in the United States and around the world, including such countries as Malaysia, Indonesia, Nepal, India, and Australia.

SOS Rhino is affiliated with numerous professional organizations such as Taxonomic Advisory Group for Rhinos (TAG), Asian Rhino Specialist Group (AsRSG), American Association of Zoo Veterinarians (AAZV), Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG) of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

To develop and support in-situ conservation programs.

To increase awareness of the plight of the species through national and international educational programs and events.

To foster wildlife appreciation in countries with rhinos by providing higher education and training of personnel.

To promote agents of conservation by providing volunteer and ecotour opportunities.

To exchange information resources and ideas with professional associations, governmental and non-governmental organizations.

To fund research on problems of the five species of rhinoceros.


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