Rhino horn remains one of the most sought after animal products in the illegal wildlife trade. Its value is greater than gold, making these iconic animals high-value targets for poachers.
Since 2008, more than 7 800 rhinos have been poached in South Africa, severely depleting the remaining numbers. With a rhino killed at an average rate of one every eight hours, there are more rhinos being poached than born every year.
A foundation is laid
Years of negotiation and planning preceded the pioneering translocation of six white rhino from &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, to Botswana’s Okavango Delta in 2013. Facilitated in partnership with Rhino Force, and with the full support of the Botswana Rhino Management Committee, this conservation coup was generously funded by lead sponsor, Motorite Administrators.
Botswana is chosen
Botswana was selected for its extremely low poaching rates, thanks to its ‘no tolerance’ policy when encountering potential poaching threats. Each rhino is fitted with specially designed telemetry devices for research and active monitoring purposes.
Preparations are made
In preparation for the arrival of these first six rhino, the Botswana game scouts were provided with intensive tracking and monitoring training at &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve. They were familiarised with the use of the satellite collars and tracking equipment designed to monitor the movement and behaviour of the rhino following their release. A portion of this equipment, as well as anti-poaching uniforms and binoculars, was supplied by the Chipembere Rhino Foundation.
Rhinos Without Borders: 2014 – 2020
Following on the success of this successful translocation, Rhinos Without Borders was born in 2014 – a collaborative project between &Beyond and Great Plains Conservation. The aim of this joint initiative is to ensure the survival of Southern Africa’s rhinos by translocating a breeding population of 100 animals to a Botswana safe haven.
As of early 2020, 87 rhinos have been safely translocated, with 39 calves born to date. The move of the remaining 13 rhino has been temporarily postponed due to the current drought conditions in Botswana. In the interim, the current rhino population with their offspring remains under close protection, and fundraising continues to cover their security and monitoring.