Project Rhino was launched on World Rhino Day, 22 September 2011. It is a
province-wide, rhino-focussed association that brings together the provincial government conservation body, private and community-owned reserves, rhino owners, leading conservation NGOs and anti-poaching security specialists.
Project Rhino supports more than 300,000 HA of protected areas with our interventions, including Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife Game Reserves, private and community-owned game reserves.
Project Rhino's Response:
There are numerous fundamental projects that fall under the Project Rhino umbrella and all are essential to combat wildlife crime, a complex problem that must be approached in a holistic manner. Our initiatives are seen as tools in a bigger toolbox that work hand in hand to stop rhino poaching.
To combat poaching threats, Project Rhino takes a four pillar approach:
1. Coordination Unit: The team that keeps the engines running by 1) mobilizing stakeholders; 2) gathering and synthesizing information; 3) prioritising needs; and 4) sourcing funds and donations. Without effective coordination, we would see a disjointed and dysfunctional response to wildlife crime – resulting in higher poaching numbers.
2. Ranger and Technical Support: 1) Direct training and material support to rangers; 2) providing and operationalizing K9 and equine patrols units; and 3) ZAP-Wing aerial surveillance including lease and support costs of Hluhluwe airfield.
3. Education and Engagement: Activating youth and communities through 1) Rhino ART (Art, Recreation and Theatre); 2) Youth camps; 3) Leadership forums; and 4) the World Youth Wildlife Summit.
4. Wild Economy and Enterprise: Building and supporting a network of responsible use landscapes and identifying business opportunities within them. For example, ecological agriculture, agro processing and ecotourism.
Now in its 10th year, Project Rhino continues to bring together organizations with a common vision and goal, identifying synergies through an integrated, common approach. Project Rhino has pioneered an ethos of collaboration and tackles macro-level issues that affect all KZN rhino stakeholders. Initiatives benefit all rhino, regardless of whether they are to be found in provincial, private or community-owned game reserves.
“Project Rhino is an association of like-minded organisations facilitating rhino conservation interventions aimed at eliminating rhino poaching and securing the white and black rhino populations of KwaZulu-Natal.
The members of Project Rhino recognise 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. The association is also aware that the poaching of rhino is symptomatic of the overall, bigger conservation & environmental
crises facing South Africa and its neighbours.”