This #GivingTuesday we’re hoping to raise USD $8,400 for ‘OPERATION RHINO’ to watch over and protect 12 critically endangered black rhinos.
WHAT IS OPERATION RHINO?
Every year, our Wildlife Veterinarian and Zimbabwe’s rhino expert Dr. Chris Foggin drives across the country to private reserves and national parks where remaining, isolated rhino populations exist. Collaborating with Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and rhino conservation NGO’s across the country, our Veterinary team ear notches and microchips new calves so that rhino patrols and researchers can identify them from afar without disturbing them. We also de-horn adults to discourage poaching, collect blood, tissue and hair samples for health assessment, disease management and genetic sampling. All analyses are then conducted at our Wildlife Veterinary Laboratory. We also, from time to time, translocate individuals for husbandry decisions – to make sure genetic diversity is maintained through a regionally-managed breeding program.
So far, since 2012 we have done:
RHINOS IN ZIMBABWE: More than 2,200 black and white rhino once roamed Zimbabwe in 1999, but over the last 19 years, poaching for rhino horn was rampant and our beloved rhino population plummeted to just 650 individuals. Today, increased security measures in Zimbabwe’s reserves has seen a small but steady increase in black rhinos, with white rhinos stabilized. However, all rhinos remain vulnerable and are still under imminent threat from extinction. These conservation gains could change instantly if we don’t keep up our efforts.
Take a look at this video below! Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust recently relocated this black rhino to another reserve to improve the population’s genetic diversity.
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WE NEED YOUR HELP!
Because of our unstable economy, we’re seeing an increase in bush meat poaching in and around Victoria Falls. This is resulting in an increase in de-snaring, rescue and rehabilitation we’re having to do. Our resources are stretched thin and we’re in desperate need of veterinary equipment and support so that we can continue OPERATION RHINO across Zimbabwe. Each rhino procedure costs us around USD $700 in veterinary drugs, equipment, mileage, and aerial support, and on average we immobilize 50 Black and White Rhino every single year!
Ear notch juvenile rhinos with unique ID’s for easy identification.
De-horn rhinos to discourage poaching
Sample rhino DNA for genetic analysis
Rhino health and disease management
If we’re to conserve what’s left of our rhino population in Zimbabwe we need to protect and grow these isolated populations through ongoing conservation management.