KwaZulu-Natal launches groundbreaking initiative in the fight against Rhino Poaching

World Rhino Day 22 September 2011

 

As a result of the ever-increasing numbers of black and white rhinos being poached in South Africa, the need to pool resources and co-ordinate activities has resulted in KwaZulu-Natal’s leading conservation agencies joining forces to fast-track urgently needed anti-poaching and conservation interventions.  

This association of like-minded organisations, collectively known as Project Rhino, allows for over-arching co-ordination of rhino conservation interventions aimed at eliminating rhino poaching and securing the rhino populations in KZN. 

The members of Project Rhino also recognise that the work in conserving and protecting rhinos from poaching is symbolic of the threat faced by all wildlife, which will benefit from actions taken by Project Rhino. Furthermore it is noted that the poaching of rhino is indicative of the larger environmental crisis that South Africa is facing.

Project Rhino brings together organisations with a common vision and goal; identifies synergies through an integrated, common approach, and collectively, is a representative body which carries powerful leverage ability

This provincial initiative has the full endorsement of Dr Ian Player, one of the world’s foremost conservationists, founder of the Wilderness Foundation and co-founder of the Magqubu Ntombela Trust, and widely credited with saving the White Rhino from extinction in the 1960’s.

Project Rhino also sees highly credible and long standing organisations speaking unanimously, as a way to ensure that the public and government are consistently informed of where their support is going and in doing so, unprincipled bodies have no space in entering the arena of rhino and wildlife conservation.   

An agreement amongst the following organisations will be signed on the 6th October 2011, in Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park, KZN. 

The founding members of Project Rhino include:

  • Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
  • Wildlands Conservation Trust (WCT)
  • Wildlife ACT
  • Wilderness Foundation
  • Thanda Private Game Reserve
  • African Conservation Trust (ACT)
  • Phinda Private Game Reserve (& Beyond)
  • Zululand Rhino Reserve
  • Zululand Wildlife Security Initiative
  • Game Rangers Association of Africa (GRAA)
  • WWF Black Rhino Range Expansion Project
  • Wildlife & Environment Society of SA (WESSA)
  • Space for Elephants Foundation (SEF)
  • Magqubu Ntombela Foundation
  • Thanda Foundation

Project Rhino encourages the involvement of like-minded organisations that have rhino conservation programmes as part of their core mandate to participate in this critical intervention and collaborate with the abovementioned members in the following areas:

 

  • Increased intelligence – information and informant networks;
  • Increased surveillance - with appropriate technologies (aerial, GPS etc);
  • Increased field ranger competence (training);
  • Increased advocacy (legal aspects);
  • Increased communication sharing (central repository for information);
  • Increased public awareness and education.

Project Rhino outlines the need to:

    • Prevent duplication of projects / or fund raising events in KwaZulu-Natal;
    • Create credibility within the general public through a common vision;
    • Educate the general public & rural communities and produce generic releases for use by all members;
    • Collaborate, support and promote each member;
    • Ensure cooperation, coordination and sharing of information;
    • Create a legitimate fund raising platform.
    • Create a centralised communications platform to media, public, government and global like-minded organisations.
    • Maintain records of activities and actively engage with each member, through conducting reviews, benchmarking successes and identifying shortfalls in poaching interventions.