December 2016 – Wilderness Safaris is delighted to announce that it has won the National Geographic Traveller Reader Award in the new Green Initiative category for its pioneering Botswana Rhino Conservation Programme. The awards ceremony took place at Le Meridien Piccadilly in London on 29 November.
“We are thrilled to receive this award and endorsement from our guests and the readers of National Geographic Traveller magazine and to highlight the crucial importance of responsible ecotourism and the role it can play in the conservation of endangered species. Rhino conservation is a serious commitment for us, and we are proud to have successfully completed the largest-ever cross-border translocation of Critically Endangered black rhino. We strongly believe that our rhino programme represents long-term sustainable conservation and results in the protection of Africa’s spectacular biodiversity,” says Wilderness Safaris Botswana MD, Kim Nixon.
As far back as 1999, Wilderness Safaris in partnership with the Botswana Government, has seen the establishment of a very healthy white rhino population in the Okavango Delta over more than 15 years. In 2014 and 2015, Wilderness Safaris carried out several complex and delicate black rhino translocations, so that the project has the responsibility of constant monitoring and protection of what is now a population of continental conservation significance for both species. This important work continues to be undertaken by Wilderness Safaris’ Rhino Monitoring Officers, the Botswana Defence Force and the Department of Wildlife and National Parks’ specialised Anti-Poaching Unit.
Adds Nixon, “As Africa’s leading authentic and sustainable ecotourism company, we are proud to achieve what we have to date, together with the generous support of our important partners in government, NGOs, travel trade partners and our valued donors from around the world. What we and others are trying to do remains vital to rhino conservation on the continent. Poaching is an enormous threat, which is why our Botswana Rhino Conservation Programme plays such a crucial role in the survival of these highly threatened species.”
Click here to watch a short, inspirational video on the Botswana Rhino Reintroduction Project and here to see the full list of National Geographic Traveller’s 2016 Reader Award winners.