Visitors to help game park save rhinos

The Thanda private game reserve is giving guests the chance to do their bit to protect rhinos from poaching syndicates.

For a fee of R1 500 a person – most to go towards Thanda’s antipoaching initiative – the luxurious five-star northern KwaZulu-Natal resort is allowing visitors to join its rhino monitoring team to locate and record data daily on its black and white rhinos.

Last year‚ 1 054 rhinos were poached in South Africa‚ compared with 1 175 in 2015. The 10.3% decline has not stopped anti-poaching initiatives like Thanda’s.

“It takes a lot to protect these magnificent animals that are threatened with extinction as a result of poaching by international criminal syndicates‚” the game reserve said.

Thanda said on its website that visitors could actively contribute to conserving the rhinos by joining its dedicated rhino monitoring team.

“Keeping a close watch on them is an essential part of protecting our rhinos,” it said.

“At the same time, it is an opportunity to gather ecological data that helps to continuously improve the management of our rhinos and reserve habitat.”

Participants would be led by a specialist rhino monitor in a game-viewing vehicle.

“Once rhino tracks are located‚ the guide will lead you‚ on foot into the bush to find the rhinos,” the game reserve’s website said.

“You will learn all about them‚ including how to read their tracks‚ observing wind direction‚ their behaviour‚ feeding patterns and the threats they face as a species.”

Interested guests would spend three to four hours learning how to identify individual rhinos from ear notches and helping to record their condition.

Form the fee, R1 000 will go towards the salaries of Thanda’s antipoaching units‚ cameras‚ veterinary bills and fencing. – TMG Digital

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