Wildlife Tracking – Black Rhino Monitoring
Black Rhino monitoring has become essential for protecting this Critically Endangered species. There are fewer than 4 500 individual Black Rhino remaining in Africa. The total South African population is less than 1 500 individuals.
Black Rhino numbers have severely declined as a direct result of the Chinese Medicine and Yemen dagger handle industries, which depend on various Rhino body parts. Despite an intention to curb the hunting of these animals through legal mechanisms such as CITES listings, the incidence of poaching remains a major threat to this population. As a result, the expansion and growth of the population has been deemed a clear conservation priority for the governing conservation authorities.
We at Wildlife ACT are actively involved in Black Rhino monitoring as well as the evaluation of the successes or failures of attempted reintroductions of the Black Rhino, and provide valuable feedback and data with the help of rhino volunteers to these conservation authorities.
Black Rhino monitoring and tracking involves the use of telemetry equipment, hand-held GPS devices, producing identification kits, setting up and using camera traps to monitor Black Rhino and other endangered species, using traditional methods, collecting behavioral data and extrapolating this to inform and enhance management objectives on reserves.
Black Rhino monitoring has been supported through the WWF Black Rhino Range Expansion Project (WWF BRREP) which works to increase numbers of Black Rhino as well as relocate groups to new protected areas. Wildlife ACT has been supporting WWF BRREP by training of new Black Rhino monitoring staff, helping to find suitable release points for Black Rhino, the fitting of tracking equipment on the individual Rhino to be released, and the post-release Black Rhino monitoring work while the animals settle into their new homes.
Black Rhino range has increased by more than 250 000 hectares in South Africa through WWF BRREP, with an increase of 49% of their range in KwaZulu-Natal. This is been made possible through the incredible collaboration with all partners and stakeholders.