Project Rhino was launched on World Rhino Day, 22 September 2011. It is a province-wide, rhino-focussed association that brings together a provincial government conservation body, private and community-owned reserves, rhino owners, leading conservation NGOs and anti-poaching security specialists.
Project Rhino member reserves are collectively responsible for the protection of the second largest rhino population on the continent and the most genetically diverse white rhino population. Devastatingly, our rhino have become a target for highly organised poaching rings and crime syndicates, fuelled largely by an ongoing and unfounded demand by traditional Eastern medicine. Rhino numbers have plummeted – almost 8,000 have been lost in RSA in the last decade – whilst the costs of keeping the remaining populations safe have increased astronomically.
The Project Rhino collaborative recognises that the work in conserving and protecting rhinos 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.
Project Rhino’s Four Pillars of Support:
Our initiatives range from urgent anti-poaching and wildlife crime interventions, to a long-term outlook focused on developing empowered communities who own, manage and protect the Wildlife Economy.
Co-ordination Unit: The team that keeps the engines running, co-ordinating stakeholders, prioritising needs, sourcing funds, and keeping the ship afloat and moving in the right direction. This is the glue that binds the various players, without which we would see an uncoordinated, disjointed and dysfunctional response to the pressing issues of Wildlife Crime.
Ranger and Technical Support: Direct training equipment support to rangers, equipping supporting the K9 and Equine units, and the ZAP-Wing aerial surveillance unit, including the lease and support costs of the airfield at Hluhluwe, Zululand.
Education and Engagement: Interaction with youth and communities, through Rhino (Wild) Art, Youth camps, Leadership forums, World Youth Wildlife Summit and others.
Wildlife Economy and Enterprise: Supporting and building a network of responsible use landscapes, and identifying enterprises that can benefit all stakeholders, including equitable and ethical transactions with all stakeholders.