By Andrew Venter
September 20, 2001
The US conservation agency, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, has
agreed to fund a rhino-monitoring program in the Mkuze Game Reserve,
South Africa, for the next year. The funding grant is worth R174
000 (US$ 21 750) and will result in a comprehensive set of identi-kits
for the reserves population of black and white rhino, as well
as a conservation awareness and education kit to be
made available to schools. A similar rhino monitoring program has
recently been successfully completed in the Ndumo/Tembe Complex.
The rhino-monitoring project will continue as a result of efforts
by the Wildlands Trust, an independent fund- raising and project
management organisation concerned with conservation-based community
development in Kwa-Zulu Natal.
According to a proposal submitted to the US Fish and Wildlife Service,
the need has been identified to establish on-going rhino monitoring.
Information obtained through this monitoring will assist in formulating
management strategies for the rhino populations in the provinces
These include the detection and prevention of poaching, the maintenance
of population levels and gender ratios and the identification of
individual animals for the purpose of relocation and restocking.
The 40 000ha Mkuze Game Reserve currently has a population of 104
white rhino and 83 black rhino. Security in the park is being stepped
up after 11 poaching incidents against rhino in the last year, where
rhinos sustained death or injury as a result of direct poaching
Wildlands Trust CEO Dr Andrew Venter said that rhino monitoring
is a vital part of rhino conservation. All we
know is that especially black rhino are still critically endangered.
And we have insufficient information about their population structures
in our parks in KwaZulu Natal. Better information will lead to better
management, and the main objective of rhino management is to increase
the numbers of rhino.
For further information, contact Wildlands CEO Andrew Venter.
Cel: (083) 324-7484.