The massive increase in rhino poaching in the last 5 years is posing a very real threat to the continued existence of these magnificent animals and as the demand for rhino horns grows, so does the threat. In 2012 Zimbabwe, lost 19 black and white rhinos to poachers while neighbouring South Africa lost a staggering 633 in the same year. In both cases, this is equivalent to 3% of the respective countries rhino populations.
Where infrastructure has not been maintained around parks, there is the additional threat to human populations, their crops and dwellings and this places additional pressure on the rhino.
These are some of the factors that lead to the establishment of The Matobo Rhino Initiative Trust.
The Trust was established to assist in conserving, protecting and rehabilitating all and any species of wildlife in the Whovi Game park, the Rhodes MatoposEstate and in the Matobo in general, but because of relentless poaching as well as the destructive impact of the rhino on local communities, the Trust has prioritised the re-construction of a fence around the Whovi Wilderness area to contain the rhino in order to protect them, as well as the interests of members of the local communities.
“To date we have raised sufficient funds to build approximately 10km of fence, which will cost in the region of $50 000,” says Sharon Stead, Chairman and Trustee of the fund, “Our target is additional $150 000, as this will allow us to complete the project.”
Besides protecting the rhino, there will be an additional spin off, in that, with the park perimeter secured, plane game species that were in the park can be re-introduced. “Protecting the rhino and re-instating the missing species is our responsibility, if we are to maintain the legacy that was left to us by previous generations and this is our opportunity to assist in guarding our heritage for the future,” comments Stead. More....