Conservation projects

Rhino management

Black and white rhino have both faced extinction in the past two centuries due to poaching, habitat destruction and inadequate security resources, particularly in unfenced areas. However thanks to protected areas their numbers have increased due to considerable conservation efforts and translocation programmes. The Zululand Conservation Trust is a big contributor towards the rhino conservation within the Manyoni Private Game Reserve, and this is shown over many aspects of our financial involvement such as the security costs for their black rhino population, the costs associated with dehorning, darting expenses with notching procedures and our continued support in the monitoring of their rhino population.

The reserve has dedicated rhino monitors that patrol the reserve daily monitoring the rhino populations. This is a crucial exercise which allows the reserve management team to keep records which allow them to protect, manage and monitor the rhino population.

The Zululand Conservation Trust support the salaries and equipment of the rhino monitors and we continue to provide the monitors with up to date equipment which allows them to carry out their work with ease, these donations span out over the years as and when they are needed;

  • Cameras with optimal zoom.
  • Quadbikes.
  • Chest rigs to carry equipment whilst tracking.
  • Radios.
  • Trimble technology to store raw data.
  • Boots.
  • Binoculars.
  • Uniforms.

Sadly however these majestic giants are again facing onslaught due to a dramatic increase in poaching over the last few years. This is fuelled by the Asian demand for rhino horn that is believed to have medicinal properties. The first peak in rhino poaching in South Africa from the start of the 21st century was in 2008 with 83 rhino poached, 2009 saw a 46% increase with 122 and 2010 had a shocking 173% increase with 333 rhinos poached. The poaching continued to escalate in 2011 with 448 rhino poached, with 2012 figures rising up to 668, 2013 jumped up to 1004 rhino poached, 2014 again jumped to 1215 rhino poached, 2015 showed us a slight decrease with a total of 1175 rhino poached, but this is not an indication that poaching is on the decline - it is still very much a sought after product and each rhino's life is at risk.

The Manyoni Private Game Reserve has a vital population of white and black rhino that are monitored on a daily basis to ensure their well-being and safety. The largest problem we face in monitoring all the rhino is that they are difficult to individually identify. The most effective method of being able to mark these animals is to notch the ears and micro-chip each individual animal. These microchips allow SAPS to link the horn to the poached therefore improving prosecutions.

The notching process is expensive and consequently the reserve initiated its own Rhino Management Programme where this unique experience is made available to likeminded conservation enthusiasts from the public. Should you be interested or want to know more enquire here:info@zululandconservationtrust.org

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