Rhino Conservation in KwaZulu-Natal

Fuelled by a growing demand for rhino horn in primarily China and Vietnam and driven by international criminal syndicates, rhino around the world are under threat of extinction. South Africa is one of the last countries to have a significant population of black and white rhino left in the wild and is one of the reasons why South Africa is bearing the brunt of what can be described as one of the worst global wildlife conservation crises of the past 100 years.

Although, nationally, the numbers of rhino poached year on year have decreased in the last two years, the rate of poaching in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) parks has increased. It is therefore crucial that the efforts and energy focused on fighting this war are not reduced in anyway.

Wildlife ACT is a founding member of Project Rhino, an association of like-minded organisations facilitating rhino conservation interventions in KwaZulu-Natal. The efforts focus on eliminating rhino poaching in the region, thus securing crucial populations of white and black rhino for the benefit of current and future generations.

The members of Project Rhino recognise that the work in conserving and protecting rhino from the threat of poaching is symbolic of the broader threat faced by all wildlife, and that all wildlife will benefit from actions taken by Project Rhino. We believe that by collaborating to achieve a common vision, we are able to more effectively use limited resources to tackle a national problem.

Wildlife ACT focuses its rhino conservation efforts on several elements including:

– Post release and ongoing monitoring;
– Dehorning of rhino populations on smaller protected areas;
– Support of the Project Rhino K9 Unit within the Zululand network of protected areas;
– Support of field ranger and anti-poaching units within protected areas;
– Developing and implementing anti-poaching measures and technology in the field;
– Conservation education through an established community conservation programme.

The work is carried out in partnership with various conservation organisations and reserve management authorities, including Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, the state conservation authority, and private and community land owners.