Faced with a devastating exponential rise in illegal rhino poaching in South Africa, Rhinos Without Borders was formed in order to start moving these endangered animals away from the poaching hotspots to a safer environment.
Rhino poaching is at an all-time high in Africa and is increasing at an alarming rate. The illegal trade in rhino horn has seen the number of these magnificent creatures poached throughout Africa rise significantly in recent years. Since 2008, 7 899 rhinos have been poached in South Africa. With a rhino killed every eight hours, more of these African icons are now being lost to poachers every year than are being born. Rhinos Without Borders is a joint initiative between andBeyond and Great Plains Conservation, two leading conservation and tourism companies. The project aims to translocate 100 rhino from high-risk poaching areas in South Africa to the comparative safety of Botswana.
Where appropriate, the rhinos will be transported by air as opposed to road, in order to shorten the journey and lessen the amount of stress placed on the animals. The budget to translocate just one rhino is USD 45 000. The whole project, including ongoing and monitoring and security, requires a total budget of USD 4.5 million.
Botswana has been carefully selected for its extremely low poaching rates, thanks in part to its “no tolerance” policy when encountering potential threats. Each rhino, when translocated, will be fitted with specially design telemetry devices for ongoing research and monitoring purposes.
The dream became a reality when the first batch of rhino were successfully translocated from South Africa, by air, and safely released in their new habitat. By taking action, Rhinos Without Borders has already succeeded in moving 87 rhinos from a high-risk poaching zone and significantly decreased the likelihood of these endangered animals being killed. We are delighted that 27 rhino calves have already been born in Botswana, signifying a huge milestone for the initiative, making Botswana 114 rhino richer thanks to the project. We will be translocating the remaining 13 rhino in 2020 due to drought conditions in Botswana.
While we continue raising funds to meet the aims of the entire project, we are pleased to announce that sufficient money has been raised to move the next batch of rhino to a different, undisclosed destination within Botswana. These rhino will again be captured in South Africa before being translocated across the border to replenish the population.