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Boosting the ranks to protect South Africa’s rhinos from poaching

Tuesday 26th June 2012

2011 was a sad record year for South Africa. Over 400 rhinos were reported to have been killed by poachers for the sake of their horn. So far, there doesn’t seem to be any relief in 2012 either; the rate of poaching keeps accelerating. With South Africa being the focal point for trade of rhino horn, home to 70-80% of the global rhino population, their protection is now paramount.

One problem in tackling the issue is that of insufficient resources in South Africa. The National Park is so vast that an enormous number of rangers would be required to provide effective monitoring.

Smaller private reserves might pose a more manageable challenge but they lack the public funding. A recent issue of African Geographic cited reserve owners, which were deterred from having rhinos in their reserve by the huge cost of providing effective security. Without having the necessary manpower themselves, they were faced with hiring outside security contractors to patrol their reserves at prohibitive monthly costs.

African Conservation Experience are therefore very excited to have joined forces with a dedicated team of conservationists to enable international volunteers to assist with the protection of rhinos as part of the Mofemedi Rhino Recovery Initiative. Keen conservationists and wildlife lovers can join this project as a volunteer for a period of 2-12 weeks. They will work alongside rangers, reserve managers and vets to protect the rhino population through monitoring and tracking the rhinos’ movements. A constant presence has proven to be one of the most effective measures to prevent poaching.

 From 24 July to 8 August, the team will dart a further 6 rhinos and fit them with telemetry ankle collars to facilitate monitoring. After that the project will run year round to provide constant monitoring and tracking.