Les Carlisle: Group Conservation Manager
Rhino capture date getting closer
The statistics are out for 2012 and it has been confirmed that it was our worst year yet for rhino poaching in South Africa, with over 600 animals killed. This just confirms that we need to explore all avenues in our fight for the survival of the majestic African rhino. It also reinforces the need for translocation to secure destinations, such as the one we are embarking on now!
The preparations and planning for our international translocation are really comprehensive, by necessity. As we get closer to the capture date, the teams are ticking the boxes one by one.
The road to the release boma in Botswana had to be plotted, cut open and then tested. We tested it with heavily laden transport vehicles when we delivered the materials for the construction of the boma. By all accounts the route worked well. The river crossings were then checked again to make sure that they all lead over white sand and are therefore firm to cross with the heavily laden rhino transport trucks. This too was confirmed through the use of the material delivery trucks.
The conditions for the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) permits and South African veterinary requirements have been carefully followed and both these documents are required before the import permits for Botswana can be issued. As the capture teams and donors begin to prepare for the translocation operation, the biggest risk is not being able to locate the rhino identified for transfer in an area where we can safely immobilise them. To reduce this risk, Dr Cooper and Simon Naylor, the reserve warden, have placed ankle transmitters on two of the target animals, so we will have help with locating two of the six rhino.
To our incredible donors, the beginning of the operation is really getting close now and I look forward to hosting you at the capture. Once again, a very big thank you to Motorite Administrators, RHINO FORCE and Brent Cook for the telemetry equipment.
Now we just need to pray for weather that we can work in! Chat again soon.