December 2014 – Wilderness Safaris is delighted to announce that one of the black rhino translocated as part of the Botswana Rhino Reintroduction Project has given birth to a calf. Just a few days old, the calf was sighted by Rhino Monitoring Officers during a patrol, and while the protective maternal instincts of the mother prevented them from getting close, the team were happy to report that both appeared to be in excellent health.
“This new birth is a very proud moment for all of the stakeholders involved in the project and evidence of just how well this Critically Endangered species is settling into its new environment. The success of our project is measured in the recruitment of calves born in the wild, and so this is a major milestone and a positive indication that we’re on the right track”, says Wilderness Safaris Group Conservation Manager, Kai Collins.
The Wilderness Botswana Rhino Project is a long-term collaboration between Wilderness Safaris and the Botswana Department of Wildlife and National Parks. It was started in 2001 with the reintroduction of white rhino from southern Botswana into protected areas in the north of the country. Subsequent reintroductions of white rhino over the next five years increased the population substantially with many calves born in the wild.
In 2003, a small group of south-central black rhino were introduced into the same area and a single calf was born in 2009. Then, in response to the poaching crisis to South Africa, the project took on a new impetus with several groups of black rhino translocated from South Africa to Botswana during 2014. The full support and backing offered by Botswana’s Government, has allowed the Project to ensure the ongoing protection of these rhino against any potential threats.
Thanks to extensive fundraising efforts in preparation for this translocation by the Wilderness Wildlife Trust and other important sponsors, including International Rhino Foundation, the Tiffany & Co. Foundation, Rhino Force, Globeflight and Empowers Africa, to name a few, the first part of the project has been a great success. “In the new year, we look forward to closely monitoring the rhino, while also carrying out further translocations”, adds Collins.
Click here to watch a short, inspirational video on the Botswana Rhino Reintroduction Project.