Wilderness Safaris celebrates World Rhino Day with 20 years of rhino conservation

Sep 20, 2013 |  Conservation & Wildlife
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September 2013 – As Africa’s leading ecotourism company, Wilderness Safaris has been involved in rhino conservation for more than 20 years; assisting with black and white rhino reintroductions and conservation in six countries: Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

This included the return of black and white rhino to the wild in Botswana after an 11-year absence; the return of white rhino to northern Kruger after an absence of 100 years; the supplementing of wild white rhino populations in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park; the translocation of black rhino to communal conservancies in Namibia to aid both conservation and ecotourism; and numerous other monitoring, research and security initiatives here and also in Malawi and Zambia.

“With the scourge of the rhino poaching epidemic reaching unbelievable heights in South Africa, it is vital for rhino conservation efforts to extend across borders to ensure the ongoing survival of the species. We are deeply committed to rhino conservation and will continue to be actively involved in monitoring and protection efforts, as well as fundraising in all six of these African countries”, said Kai Collins, Wilderness Safaris Group Biodiversity Conservation Manager.

Desert Rhino Camp in Namibia is an innovative partnership with an NGO (Save the Rhino Trust), the Namibian government and Wilderness Safaris. The camp pays directly for monitoring costs of black rhino in the area and further donates a set fee per bednight for rhino conservation.

Like many others in Africa, the small population of black rhino in Liwonde National Park, Malawi is severely threatened by poaching. This, coupled with the limited resources of Malawi’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife in continuing its protection, necessitated the launch of Wilderness Wildlife Trust’s Liwonde Rhino Protection Project in 2012. A number of rhino have subsequently been darted and collared, putting them under constant surveillance to enable the rhino monitoring team to record their movements and assist in ongoing rhino monitoring and research.

Wilderness Safaris’ Botswana Rhino Reintroduction Project continues to thrive under the guidance of Poster Malongwa and Njunja James, who monitor the black and white rhino reintroduced into the Mombo area of the Moremi Game Reserve over 12 years ago. This successful reintroduction programme is a collaborative conservation effort between Wilderness Safaris, Wilderness Wildlife Trust, Botswana's Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) and the Botswana Government.

Wilderness Safaris also continues to support the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (PWMA) of Zimbabwe with regards to rhino management in Hwange National Park. The white rhino population of the Main Camp area of Hwange was almost wiped out in the early 1990s from poaching. Various translocations have therefore taken place from Matobo National Park to Hwange. Since 2000, conservation efforts have concentrated on management of black and white rhino in Intensive Protection Zones (IPZs) within the Parks. Activities include ear notching and micro chipping for individual identification of rhino, radio horn-implants, dehorning and snare removals. Hwange's rhino population has benefited from the genetic diversity introduced by the Matobo population.

More than just restoring biodiversity and ecological functioning, the increased opportunity for tourists to encounter rhino in these National Parks and other private wilderness concessions contributes to the countries’ tourism revenue and raises awareness about rhino conservation. Ecotourism plays a fundamental role in ensuring the long-term protection and survival of rhino.

Please visit www.wildernesstrust.com for more information on Wilderness Safaris’ conservation efforts. 

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