Balule Nature Reserve in conjunction with WWF recently introduced 19 black rhinos into the reserve in an effort to expand the range of this highly endangered species. This makes Balule one of the best places in Africa to see black rhinos. We now boast the highest numbers of black rhinos of any of the private reserves bordering and open to Kruger Park.
What is WWF doing?
Recent success in black rhino conservation are heartening, but a lot of work remains to bring the population up to even a fraction of what it once was – and ensure that it stays there.
WWF is working to protect the black rhino and increase its numbers by:
Expanding existing protected areas and improving their management
Establishing new protected areas
Improving security monitoring to protect rhinos from poaching
Improving local and international law enforcement to stop the flow of rhino horn and other illegal wildlife trade items from Africa to other regions of the world
Promoting well managed wildlife-based tourism experiences that will also provide additional funding for conservation efforts.
Black Rhino Range Expansion Project
The Black Rhino Range Expansion Project began in 2003 with the aim of increasing numbers and growth rate of the critically endangered black rhino, sub-species Diceros bicornis minor.
It does this through facilitating partnerships between landowners with good black rhino habitat. Often, neighbouring landowners must be willing to remove their internal fences in order to create one large area of land with no barriers to free movement of black rhino.
The aim is now to take the Project concept beyond the borders of KwaZulu-Natal into other regions of South Africa and possibly beyond.
The black rhino is a flagship for creating larger blocks of land for conservation purposes. This benefits other species, such as elephant, vultures, leopard tortoises and wild dogs.
The Black Rhino Range Expansion Project is a partnership between WWF and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, and is supported by the Mazda Wildlife Fund.
Highlights since 2003
Black rhino range in KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa, increased by 25% (approximately 74 000 hectares).
15% of black rhino in KwaZulu-Natal are now on Project partner sites.
During the first five years of the Project, four partner sites received founder populations of black rhino from Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, the provincial conservation organisation of KwaZulu-Natal. In total 67 black rhino were translocated to new homes.
A founder population of black rhino was released for the first time on to a community-owned site, with strong buy-in from the community leadership.
The Project proved that partnerships between landowners and formal conservation organisations make otherwise unattainable goals possible.
Please have a look at the video that was taken of the whole relocation process to Balule.