Black rhinos homed in East Cape

Image: Mike Holmes

Black rhinos are being killed at such a rapid rate that the only thing to do is hide them away on secret reserves.

Through its Black Rhino Range Expansion Project, the World Wide Fund for Nature SA successfully set up its 12th black rhino population.

This involved translocation of its 200th rhino at a secret reserve in the Eastern Cape ahead of #WorldAnimalDay, which was celebrated on Friday.

The project finds new areas to establish populations where the rhinos have enough space to breed.

For the 12th move, which took place in August, the project teamed up with landowners, a community of 25 families and the provincial government to create a 14,000ha reserve.

The privately owned section of the site has shifted from farming to conservation and been declared a protected area.

Some of the land is managed by the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency.

Project leader Dr Jacques Flamand said the veterinarians’ first concern was for the welfare of the rhinos.

“We are monitoring the animals closely,” Flamand said.

“They are all still exploring the reserve and some are starting to show signs of setting up home ranges already.

“It usually takes a couple of months before they have all completely settled.”

He said since 2003, the project had successfully created 12 new black rhino populations in SA and 201 black rhinos had been moved to these sites, cover more than 250,000ha.

Eastern Cape economic development, environmental affairs and tourism MEC Mlungisi Mvoko said: “This initiative meshes well with our land restitution aims and has the potential to develop into a significant conservation project for the province.”