A collaborative project dedicated to the survival of Southern Africa’s wild rhinos
Since 2008, more than 8 493 rhinos have been poached for their horns in South Africa. Rhino horn is a highly sought after commodity in illegal wildlife trade and has a value higher than gold.
On average one rhino is killed every eight hours, resulting in more rhinos being poached than are born in a year.
Necessity is the Mother of Invention…
In 2013, in an attempt to protect rhinos at high risk of poaching, six white rhino were translocated from &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, to Botswana’s Okavango Delta. This pioneering move and was facilitated in partnership with Rhino Force, as well as with support from the Botswana Rhino Management Committee. Motorite Administrators generously funded this conservation coup.
To achieve the objective of moving rhino from high-risk poaching regions in South Africa and to create new source populations, Botswana was chosen as the recipient country due to its government’s commitment to ecological sustainability and the long-term success of rhino populations.
A specially designed telemetry device was fitted to each rhino to actively monitor and research this population.
Preparations are made
To prepare for the arrival of the first six rhino, Botswana game scouts received extensive training in tracking and monitoring at &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve. They learnt how to use the satellite collars and tracking equipment to monitor the movement and behaviour of the rhino after their release. Chipembere Rhino Foundation kindly provided a portion of this equipment, as well as anti-poaching uniforms and binoculars.
Rhinos Without Borders is formally born
Following the inspiring success of the translocation, Rhinos Without Borders was launched in 2014 as a collaborative between &Beyond and Great Plains Conservation. The purpose being to translocate a breeding population of 100 rhino to Botswana for their safety and to ensure the survival of the population. Thanks to the immense generosity of many donors, 87 rhinos had been relocated by December 2019.
The new source population of 87 rhino has integrated successfully and grown to well over the target amount, with a significant number of births recorded in the Okavango – true testimony to the success of the project.
As a result of recent poaching activity in Botswana, however, the project has mobilised its full resources and collaborative infrastructure to protect these source populations and thereby achieve the true legacy of Rhinos Without Borders.