Rhino horn remains one of the most sought after animal products in the illegal wildlife trade. Its value is greater than gold, making rhinos high-value targets for poachers.
Rhinos Without Borders (RWB) is addressing this threat by translocating rhinos from areas where they are vulnerable to poaching incidents, and releasing them into the wilderness of Botswana, under close protection from that country’s government and the RWB monitoring teams.
Our latest successful translocation brings the initiative closer to its stated goal of moving 100 rhino, with a total of 87 animals now safely in Botswana.
We launched RWB in 2014, in collaboration with our like-minded competitor, Great Plains Conservation. This project makes use of the conservation experts from both companies, and over time, the team has finely tuned their specialist knowledge, becoming proficient in both the mechanics and the policy involved in moving these massive animals across borders.
In July 2018, the successful translocation and release of 10 rhinos took place from South Africa to Botswana, and in September 2017, a landmark of 40 rhino were moved. Preparations started when RWB was contacted by a South African landowner who expressed concern for the safety of the rhino at their reserve. Our teams in South Africa worked around the clock to safeguard the animals, while those in Botswana prepared for their arrival. In a week-long operation, the rhino were moved by road and air. On arrival, the rhino were safely released directly into the field, and have settled comfortably in their new home.
This joint initiative, spearheaded by companies that are technically rivals yet that both depend on wildlife conservation for their success, is an excellent example of private sector companies working with government to make an impact on conservation issues. As the target of 100 rhino to be moved draws nearer, our RWB team is intensifying their focus on monitoring the released animals.
&Beyond Group Conservation Manager & Rhinos Without Borders Project Manager