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Black Rhino Immobilizations September 2017

Posted by Heike on Fri October 13, 2017 in Research.

We are proud custodians of the Black Rhino Range Expansion Project (BRREP), which was initiated by WWF (Worldwide Fund for Nature) in partnership with KZN Wildlife and private landowners in 2004. The aim of the project is to monitor and research the repopulation of the critically endangered black rhino on private land as an incentive for landowners to drop fences and co-operatively conserve both rhino and their habitat. Some offspring of the founder group are relocated to other reserves to increase their genetic diversity and enhance their chances of survival.

Some selected individuals are immobilized annually for genetic sampling, ear notching and other veterinary reasons. This is funded by BRREP grants and/or participating guests staying at White Elephant Safari Lodge. The funding covers the entire procedures expenditure, including veterinary costs, helicopter flying time, equipment, man power and logistics.

At the end of September (2017) we hosted African Vet Safaris and Swedish Television company who filmed the procedure;

·         Ear notching the rhino for identification;

·         Taking blood, tissue, and hair samples for the national Rhino DNA Indexing System (RhODIS) and microchipping.

·         Measuring the horns, feet, body length and shoulder height;

·         Placing a radio transmitter collar around the rhino’s ankle to monitor their movements;

·         De-horning for the sake of security against poaching. 

It is priceless for us to watch guests as they touch these unique animals for the first time, plus their understanding of the magnitude of the importance of having assisted and contributed to the welfare of our rhino and on-going conservation efforts!


 Warm Research Regards

Heike Zitzer