The Rhino Peak Challenge (RPC) is a conservation fundraiser which takes place in the Maloti Drakensberg World Heritage Site each year, this year it is happening on September 09th. A limited number of RPC Ambassadors set themselves the challenge of ascending the famous Rhino Peak (3056m) and raising funds for the RPC Beneficiaries while doing so.
With rhino and vulture population numbers plummeting we need as much support as we can get, please join us virtually, get involved, become a part of the Wildlife ACT virtual support crew.
The funds we receive from the Rhino Peak challenge will be directed towards the following conservation efforts:
Our Rhino programme
Working in line with Project Rhino’s medium term strategic solution to rhino poaching in the province, Wildlife ACT continues to carry out and support the dehorning of black and white rhino populations in some of the smaller protected areas. This dramatic course of action has proven extremely effective in reducing poaching incidents on respective reserves. By removing the horns from the entire population of rhino on a reserve, the attraction for poachers to enter the reserve decreases significantly. This, together with other law enforcement measure, means that the risks and associated costs of entering these reserves to poach, are significantly higher than the potential reward.
The needs for this intensive intervention include the helicopter and darting expertise, along with veterinarian support for immobilisation and safe horn removal. In addition, horns regrow fairly steadily and therefore need to be redone approximately every two years.
By having a good and reliable understanding of where the population of rhino is in a protected area, the more effectively and efficiently reserve management can deploy field ranger and anti-poaching teams. Wildlife ACT has full time monitoring teams on numerous reserves within the province which work closely with management facilitate this information. In particular, Wildlife ACT has dedicated rhino monitoring teams on Somkhanda Game Reserve, a community owned reserve in Northern KZN. Through ongoing monitoring of the populations of black and white rhino, the health and success of these populations can be better understood and management interventions put in place. In addition, high risk areas and animals can be identified which can be relayed directly to security teams.
This monitoring is made more efficient through the development and fitment of tracking technology which streamlines the on the ground effort. These technologies include the tracking devices as implants or as ankle collars on individual animals.
Our Vulture Project
Wildlife ACT actively supports the KZN vulture conservation strategy by providing reliable technical support, advice and expertise to the various projects across the province. Together with our partners we are determined to bring a halt to the currently decreasing vulture populations across the region. Wildlife ACT's vulture conservation work forms part of Project Vulture, the Zululand Vulture Project, Bearded Vulture Recovery Programme and the Maloti-Drakensberg Vulture Project. A significant portion of the funds raised via the RhinoPeakChallenge go towards this essential conservation work.
Current vulture initiatives being carried out by Wildlife ACT and partners in KwaZulu Natal:
Population Stabilisation and Habitat Protection through monitoring of vultures to accurately identify vulture hotspots, establishing and securing vulture safe zones, the protection and monitoring of nest sites, rapid response to poisoning events, training field operatives on how to handle poisoned birds to ensure they are saved and reducing vulture exposure to lead poisoning by phasing out of lead-based ammunition and the safe disposal of lead contaminated carcasses.
Education and Community Conservation through education programs, especially to the youth, about the role vultures play in the ecosystem and the value they provide, researching the drivers and demand for vulture parts in the traditional medicine sector, development of meaningful demand-reduction campaigns which will lead to the reduction of vulture poisoning for their body parts.
Improved Advocacy through training field operatives on how to handle poisoning (crime) scenes to ensure convictions can occur, working with the provincial and judicial authorities to improve law enforcement and judicial processes, researching the economic value of the species to further advocate for their protection.