Pretoria – A total of R2.4 million has been allocated to the Rhino Protection Programme (RPP), which assists with the care of injured and orphaned rhino as a result of poaching.
The allocation will be done by the South African National Parks (SANParks) in partnership with the Peace Parks Foundation (PPF).
“We appreciate the support of the RPP in helping rhinos that have been injured and orphaned as a result of poaching and supporting our teams of vets and field staff, who brave the frontlines of the rhino poaching war every day.
“These interventions form a critical component of the strategic integrated approach to combatting wildlife crime as announced by the Minister of Environmental Affairs last year,” SANParks CEO Fundisile Mketeni said.
RPP is collaboration between the Department of Environmental Affairs, SANParks, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (Ezemvelo) and the Peace Parks Foundation (PPF).
The programme is funded by the Dutch and Swedish postcode lotteries and other private donors including The Sophia Foundation as well as the UK-based fundraising initiative, The Charge.
Last year, SANParks rescued 16 rhino orphans from the Kruger National Park. Twelve of the rescued rhinos received specialist care and four were placed with surrogate mothers in holding bomas managed by SANParks.
“The ultimate aim is for the rhino orphans to be integrated back into a normally functioning, breeding population,” SANParks spokesperson Lise-Marie Greeff-Villet said.
In circumstances where the mothers of the rhino have been killed by poachers, they will require specialist care as they are generally weak and dehydrated.
“Once the rhino orphans have recovered and are grazing, and have been integrated with older rhino, they will be moved to rhino strongholds where they will form part of the breeding population,” Greeff-Villet said.
Specialist veterinary treatment will also be provided for wounded rhinos.