September 22 is World Rhino Day … a day of great significance for those of us working in rhino conservation. Every year, on this day, rhino lovers around the world join forces to acknowledge the importance of protecting these endangered animals for future generations.
This year, &Beyond and Great Plains Conservation are using today to celebrate some of the dedicated and passionate individuals on the frontlines of rhino conservation: the Rhinos Without Borders monitors. These often unsung heroes are the eyes and ears of Rhinos Without Borders. Their tireless commitment to safeguarding the relocated rhinos ensures each individual animal is provided the best possible chance of establishing itself in Botswana.
To date, 37 rhino have been safely translocated with Rhinos Without Borders and seven rhino calves have been born in Botswana, a tremendous milestone for the project and confirmation that the animals are adapting to their unexpected change of scenery and thriving in their new home. An impressive USD 3.6 million has been raised, thanks to the generosity of concerned donors around the world and enough funds have been secured to move a further 40 rhino to safety this year.
The Rhinos Without Borders monitors receive extensive field tracking and spoor identification training, which they put to daily use, patrolling in teams alongside members of the Botswana government. Their field skills have been recognised and applauded by the conservation community; especially their ability to locate and track individual rhino without the assistance of radio or satellite collars. Because of the dedicated service and refined skills of these expert monitors, Rhinos Without Borders is, therefore, able to identify and track all of the relocated rhino in real-time.
The daily foot-patrols, as well as daily dispatches to coordinate these patrols with aerial surveys, are supported by an Operations Centre based in Maun, Botswana. Remote data is compiled and individual rhino’s movements are monitored. This strategic deployment of resources, both on the ground and in the air, combined with tried-and-tested field skills and advanced technology, ensure the safety and ongoing protection of these precious, yet sadly threatened animals.
It is the hard work, unmatched skill and tireless passion of our Rhinos Without Borders monitors that will ensure the legacy of the relocated rhino in Botswana. Long may these beautiful species live.
To make a contribution to Rhinos Without Borders, click here.