Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative
The rhino poaching crisis (as well as other wildlife crime) is of national and international significance and affects all levels of society. Wildlife crime is the fourth most profitable illicit trade in the world, estimated at up to $213 billion annually. Wilderness Foundation Africa recognizes this and is working in partnership with various organisations to address this issue.
Until 1970 rhino populations worldwide were relatively stable with minimal poaching incidents. Unfortunately within a single decade, half the world’s rhino population disappeared due to increased wealth in the east, and the rhino population was threatened with extinction. Since then, thanks to various conservation efforts and improved security measures, the black and white rhino populations have increased. But these gains are in danger of being reversed again by a resurgence of poaching. Now also peddled as a cancer cure, the demand for rhino horn is rising, along with the price.
The Wilderness Foundation launched its Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative in May 2011 in response to the growing rhino poaching crises.
The initiative primarily focuses on:
- On the ground anti-poaching actions
- Increase security and law enforcement actions
- Increase Public Awareness
- Reduce demand for rhino horn in user countries
Through the Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative, Wilderness Foundation Africa supports anti-poaching actions on the ground in private and state protected areas. This is achieved through:
- Deployment of vehicles for anti-poaching purposes to rhino hotspots around the country.
- Equipment: including surveillance equipment, off road motorbikes, sleeping bags, tents, satellite phones, etc.
- Funds are spent on informers and equipment to police departments and security agencies assisting in the arrest of suspects and preventing possible poaching incidents.
- Supporting anti-poaching dog units in rhino hotspot in South Africa.
- A research project in Kruger National Park on protocols and procedures for treating rhino survivors.
- Rhino DNA Tissue Collection as part of the national RhODIS program.
- Air Support: micro light aircraft, helicopter time and a Bat Hawk aircraft deployed to rhino hotspots in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.
- Rescuing and treatment of rhino shot by poachers but still alive
The Wildlife Operations Group is a multi-agency partnership established in 2013 and has an overarching objective for the reduction in the incidence of and the successful prosecution of no just rhino but general wildlife related crime. This is achieved through a multi-disciplinary approach which includes: research and development; training; support investigation and operational activities in order to meet the objective.
Our Founding Partners
Wilderness Foundation, Indalo Private Game Reserve Association, SAPS Hawks, Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency, South African National Parks, Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism
The founding partners are represented on a steering committee that guides and oversees the management of the group. The steering committee meets once a quarter.
The Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative strives to increase the public’s awareness of the increase in not just rhino poaching, but general wildlife crime. Through the support of the public, information can be obtained that can lead to the reduction of wildlife crime and possible arrests and successful prosecution of poachers and wildlife syndicates. Increasing public awareness is achieved through:
- Awareness campaigns and distribution of flyers, licence disc stickers and coasters
- Awareness through social media, radio, print media, educational films and documentaries
- Advocacy and awareness presentations
- Training workshops
The Wilderness Foundation acknowledges that on ground support, public awareness and increased security will not succeed in the long term to solve the rhino poaching crises if the reduction for the demand of rhino horn from the user countries are not addressed. With the knowledge that 90% of poached rhino horn goes to Vietnam, which is a key user country, the Wilderness Foundation developed its approach for reducing demand for rhino horn in Vietnam through the following activities:
- Enacting MOU between governments of South Africa and Vietnam
- Business Chambers to access and influence user groups
- Youth Ambassadors for a range of on ground activities in Vietnam
- Ambassador Thanh Bui and a Forever Wild Office to implement selected interventions
- Wilderness Foundation Africa
- +27 (0) 41 373 0293
Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative
"Every 8 hours, another rhino is killed in South Africa...and the number is growing"
Follow the link below to download more information about the Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative.
Timeline: The history of Rhino from 1800 to the present day
The northern while rhino was reported to the scientific world in 1903 and was described as 'locally common within a limited area'. It was considered to be significantly more numerous than southern white rhinos, which were much more close to extinction. The type specimen was shot by Major Gibbons on the White Nile.
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