Rhinos Without Borders is an initiative aimed at combatting the scourge of rhino poaching in Africa.
Since 2008, 6 128 rhinos have been poached in South Africa, severely affecting the African icon’s numbers. With a rhino killed at an average rate of one every eight hours, there are more rhinos being poached than born every year. &Beyond believes that translocations are fundamental to secure the survival of this endangered species. This initiative was designed to help counter the scourge of poaching and preserve this rare African icon for future generations.
The project was born out of the first ever private game reserve donation of rhino to another country, during which &Beyond translocated six white rhino from &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve in South Africa to Botswana’s Okavango Delta. Facilitated in partnership with RHINO FORCE, this conservation coup was generously funded by lead sponsor Motorite Administrators. After years of negotiation and planning, the initial translocation of the Rhinos Without Borders project was begun in early 2013 with the full support of the Botswana Rhino Management Committee.
Botswana was carefully selected for its extremely low poaching rates, thanks in part to its “no tolerance” policy when encountering potential threats. Each rhino, when translocated, will be fitted with specially designed telemetry devices for ongoing research and monitoring purposes.
As part of the process of transferring skills and preparing for the arrival of the rhino, &Beyond provided intensive tracking and monitoring training for game scouts from Botswana, held at &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve. The game scouts were familiarised with the use of the satellite collars and tracking equipment intended to monitor the movement and behaviour of the six rhino after their release. A portion of this equipment, as well as anti-poaching uniforms and binoculars, was supplied by the Chipembere Rhino Foundation.
&Beyond is playing are fundamental role in securing the ongoing survival of endangered species and this project aims to increase Africa’s dwindling rhino populations for future generations to enjoy. The Okavango Delta has proven to be a successful rhino relocation habitat and Botswana has a strong security and monitoring framework in place, with the country’s military helping to protect the endangered species.
Following the success of this project with all six of the translocated rhino thriving in their new habitat, &Beyond then partnered with Great Plains Conservation in 2014 to move an additional 100 rhino from South Africa to the relative safe haven of Botswana.
Where appropriate, the rhinos will be transported by air as opposed to road, in order to shorten the journey and lessen the amount of stress placed on the animals. The budget to translocate just one rhino is USD 45 000. The whole project, including ongoing monitoring and security, requires a total budget of USD 4.5 million. Both &Beyond and Great Plains Conservation have embarked on a number of fundraising activities yet the project calls on all members of the travel industry to join hands in order to make a difference.
By taking action, Rhinos Without Borders has already succeeded in translocating 37 rhinos (excluding the initial 6), with seven rhino calves having been born in Botswana, signifying a huge milestone for this initiative. An operations centre has also been set up in Botswana for continuous monitoring and surveillance. A further 40 rhino are still to be translocated in 2017.
Additional funds are being raised to move further batches of rhino to undisclosed destinations within Botswana.
For more information or to donate to the cause, please visit www.rhinoswithoutborders.com