Protecting Black Rhinos in SVC
A number of rhinos were reintroduced into SVC during the early 1990s to provide a safe-haven from the intense poaching that was occurring in the Zambezi Valley at the time. Following the reintroduction, management and protection of the rhinos needed to be coordinated. This fact encouraged ranchers in the area to pool their land and form a single, huge wildlife area with all internal fencing removed.
Since then, due to ideal habitat and protection from poaching, the black rhinoceros population increased rapidly and the SVC now hosts a critically important population. The world conservation authority, the IUCN, considers the conservation of rhinos in SVC to be a ‘continental priority’ – which is their highest possible priority rating.
One of AWCF’s main goals is to raise funds for the protection of rhinos in SVC. In the last few years there has been a major increase in rhino poaching throughout southern Africa, due to increased demand for rhino horn in the Far East. This threat has been particularly severe in Zimbabwe, and SVC’s rhinos have been badly affected, posing a serious threat to this critically important population.
In SVC, 22 black and 3 white rhinos were poached during 2008-2009, driving this all important rhino population into decline. Rhino poaching incidents are brutal: poachers typically riddle the animals with bullets from automatic rifles and hack the horns off with machetes, often while the wounded/maimed animal is still alive.
In early 2011, for example, there was a particularly tragic case when poachers shot a young black rhino three times and hacked its horn off, only for the animal to survive for several days with horrendous wounds. The rhino was treated by veterinarians as soon as it was discovered, but ultimately had to be euthanized due to the extent of the wounds.
In response to the threat, a dedicated rhino anti-poaching unit (APU) has been developed to tackle the problem. This proactive approach has slowed the loss of rhinos in SVC but the demand for rhino horn continues to drive the ever more sophisticated poachers in their quest.
The severity of the threat is such that continuing support, training and development is needed to enable conservationists and APU’s to counter the threat of these poachers as they become more daring and brazen in their attempts to harvest the horn.
Support given to AWCF’s rhino project, no matter how small, could make a real difference to the protection of these magnificent animals: anyone, anywhere in the world can literally ensure the survival of the critically endangered black rhino by donating to this project.
With your support, we can help SVC control rhino poaching to the point where the population starts to grow again.