top of page

THE WHITE RHINO PROJECT

Bushveld Hunting Adventures is proud to be working with our outfitters in the Limpopo Region to help protect and conserve the species and wildlife that inhabits it. For every safari you invest in, a fixed amount goes towards our White Rhino protection initiative and conservation projects property wide. On the ground our anti-poaching units are working tirelessly to reduce the incidence of Rhino poaching as well as rescuing and providing treatment to Rhino injured by poachers. With your help our overarching goal is to save this beautiful specie from extinction. 

280.JPG

SAVING OUR RHINOS

Saving Our Rhinos

Our rhino conservation story begins in 2003 when Adriaan Du Plessis’ grandfather purchased the initial members of our white rhino herd. He was extremely passionate about the rhino and this purchase was a huge milestone for the property. At the time of purchase, I don't think he realised just how important buying these rhino really was.

Fast forward 15 years and the harsh reality in Africa is that if rhino poaching continues at the current rate, the wild herds of rhino will be extinct in my lifetime. In this day & age we can't be responsible for another animal specie to become extinct.

In 2013 there was a spate of poaching in our area and unfortunately 7 of our precious rhino were slaughtered. This was indiscriminate, unregulated murder which included females with 1 year old calves.

Distant gun shots in the night alerted Adriaan to something sinister occurring on his land. He jumped in to his vehicle and searched for sign of the unwanted guests. Unfortunately there wasn't any sign of them and Adriaan waited out all night hoping to hear something that could help pinpoint their location.

He utilised this time to organise a helicopter for first light to scour the entire area and help from his neighbours. Adriaan counted 5 dead rhino from the air and radioed down to the ground crews of the locations. Targeting the most recent carcasses was where the ground crew found footprints of the poachers.

It's was very beneficial that one of the neighbours had experience in tracking people from his time in the Army. It wasn't long before they found small squatting camps where the poachers had set up for several nights. A breakthrough occurred when movement ahead in the bush was witnessed. With high alert, the guys approached to find two people hiding in warthog holes. A citizen’s arrest of the two poachers occurred and the long wait for the police started.

Adriaan questioned the poachers about what they had been doing on his property, they said that they had been there for a week and killed 7 rhinos. During the questioning the next horrible bit of information surfaced. These two had been poaching rhinos for three months and started their death walk from Kruger National Park. For comfort, they followed the cooler weather and had killed 270 rhino by the time they got to Adriaan's place.

The decision to kill 270 rhinos was made because they were offered a $15,000 BMW from a poaching syndicate leader. On the black market rhino horn sells for as much as $60,000 per kilo and an average rhino has 2kg of horn. Their 3 month haul was worth in excess of $30 million.

It's important to separate legal, law abiding hunters from poachers. As hunters we are ethical, selective and mostly want to leave a place or ecosystem in better condition than when we found it. Poachers on the other hand are ruthless, greedy, indiscriminate and most of all display heartless & criminal behaviour.

After this spate of rhino poaching there was a very hard decision to make. Either sell the remaining rhino to another property or establish a full time anti-poaching unit to protect Adriaan's grandfathers legacy. In the end a full time anti-poaching team was set up and has been protecting the rhinos ever since.

 

There has been a movement to legalise the trade of rhino horn so that it becomes financially variable to keep rhino on your property. You can safely harvest a rhinos horn and it will grow back in a few years, to be harvested again. Animals live between 30-50 years so that would mean quite a few harvests and the animals would be able to breed on in that time producing more offspring. The rhino horn market would have plenty of supply so the poaching would most likely stop or dramatically slow down. You can think about it like shearing sheep for its wool, the wool grows back and you shear it again.

Until the rhino horn trade is legalised, holding rhino is a huge financial burden but it's well worth it if we can help protect these beautiful animals from the mindless killings. Every person that has visited Renosterpan through bushveld hunting adventures can be proud of their direct contribution to the conservation of white rhino. We are extremely grateful that our visiting hunters contribute to protecting our rhino population but we need more help to adapt to current challenges of protecting the southern white rhino on our property.

The anti-poaching efforts cost on average $5000 per month or $60,000 per annum. The gestational period of a rhino is 16-18 months and a female calf won't be fertile until around three years old. That means from birth until another rhino is born will be around 4-5 years. The cost of the anti-poaching efforts in this time will exceed $300,000. As you can see saving the rhino population is a mammoth task that will take time and huge financial investment.

We are getting by at the moment but the game is constantly changing and to keep up, we are in desperate need of a new patrol vehicle to help check fences & for footprints of trespasses. The poachers are getting much smarter in the way they go about the killings. A new vehicle will make the fence checks much more efficient and lead to more feet on the ground watching the rhino closely.

Although all of our hunters contribute to our rhino protection program, you too can help the fight against poaching by joining up today. Simply click the join the fight link below to contribute to our already successful anti-poaching efforts.

bottom of page