Published on November 2015 in www.hks-ink.com
We are honored to share this great conservation success story for the critically endangered black rhino population. This particular effort is the result of the public-private partnership between the Governments of Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe and the safari adventure company Wilderness Safaris.
Following is an edit from Wilderness Safaris’ July, 2015 newsletter.
Wilderness Safaris, in partnership with the Botswanan, South African and Zimbabwean Governments, successfully completed the largest ever cross-border translocation of critically endangered black rhino in July, 2015. This latest phase in a 15-year collaborative project is one of the most important rhino translocations ever undertaken in conservation history.
Over the past 12 months, the partnership has managed to move no less than 1% of the total global population of this highly-threatened species into a safe haven in Botswana’s Okavango Delta.
“Such a complex operation requires an enormous amount of planning, paperwork, extraordinary partnerships and untiring efforts of a wide range of people. In particular, the high level of cooperation between the Governments of Botswana and Zimbabwe and three South African provinces has made this chapter of our 15-year-long Botswana Rhino Conservation Project a tremendous success, of which the entire conservation community and the nation of Botswana can be extremely proud,” says Map Ives, Wilderness Safaris Environmental Manager and National Rhino Coordinator for Botswana.
The last in a series of international relocations took place in May and June. The rhinos were sourced from five South African and Zimbabwean locations and safely transported to Botswana in a Hercules C130 aircraft. In an unprecedented state and private sector collaboration, the Botswana Defence Force provided the aircraft and expert crew.
Given the enormous responsibility of constant monitoring and protecting of what is now a population of continental significance, this important work continues to be undertaken by Wilderness Safaris’ Rhino Monitoring Officers, the Botswana Defence Force and the Department of Wildlife and National Parks’ specialized ‘Anti-Poaching Unit.’
Botswana continues to combat wildlife crime: the Botswana Defence Force upgraded its Mission Statement to declare wildlife protection as its “main mission.” Earlier this year, the Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism secured the budget for recruiting, equipping and training a 50-man specialist “Rhino Squad” whose sole duty will be to patrol and protect Botswana rhino.