SA, Botswana in rhino translocation deal

11 March 2013

South African travel company andBeyond’s Phinda private game reserve in KwaZulu- Natal is involved in a groundbreaking deal to translocate six white rhino to Botswana’s Okavango Delta.

It has been reported as the first private game reserve donation of rhino to another country.

The translocation began in February following years of negotiation and planning. It is still under way.

“The Okavango Delta has proven to be a successful rhino relocation habitat and Botswana has a strong security and monitoring framework in place whereby the military helps to protect the species,” andBeyond said in a statement at the start of the translocation process on 8 February.

Game scouts from Botswana received tracking and monitoring training from Phinda to assist with the move.

“The movement and behaviour of the six rhino will be closely monitored using satellite collars and telemetry and tracking equipment,” the company said.

It forms part of andBeyond’s rhino protection efforts, which fall under its Care of the Land, Care of the Wildlife, Care of the People vision.

The translocation was facilitated in partnership with conservation organisation Rhino Force and funded by insurance administrator Motorite Administrators.

It follows in the wake of a 49% increase in illegal poaching in 2012, when 668 rhinos were killed in South Africa.

“Botswana has an excellent security system in place to protect these endangered animals and will be a safe haven for the six relocated rhino,” said andBeyond CEO, Joss Kent.

“Translocations are fundamental to secure the ongoing survival of endangered species and this groundbreaking project led by andBeyond’s conservation team aims to increase Africa’s dwindling rhino populations for future generations to enjoy.”

The project has the support of the Botswana Rhino Management Committee, as well as assistance from the Eastern Cape’s Chipembere Rhino Foundation for telemetry and tracking equipment being used by the game scouts.

SAinfo reporter