Game Warden

Your chance to ask the questions: andBeyond and the Botswana rhino translocation.

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ANDBEYOND TRANSLOCATES SIX RHINO FROM PHINDA TO BOTSWANA

In the first ever private game reserve donation of rhino to another country, luxury experiential travel company andBeyond is translocating six white rhino from andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve in South Africa to Botswana’s Okavango Delta. Facilitated in partnership with RHINO FORCE, this conservation coup has been generously funded by lead sponsor, Motorite Administrators.

 

To read the full press release click here.

 

Published on Feb 14, 2013

 

In 2012 alone, South Africa lost a devastating 668 rhino to illegal poaching. Just 45 days into the new year and 96 additional rhino have already been slaughtered. Luxury experiential travel company, andBeyond, has been deeply committed to rhino conservation for 21 years and is now translocating six white rhino from South Africa to Botswana. Botswana has an excellent security system in place to protect these endangered animals and will be a safe haven for the six relocated rhino. Translocations are fundamental to secure the ongoing survival of endangered species and this groundbreaking project led by andBeyond's experienced conservation team aims to increase Africa's dwindling rhino populations for future generations to enjoy. Join us on this journey and watch as the RHINOS WITHOUT BORDERS story begins.

 

Thank you to our generous sponsors without whom this translocation would never have been possible: Africa Foundation, Motorite Administrators, RHINO FORCE and Chipembere Rhino Foundation.

 

Published on Apr 8, 2013

The remarkable Rhinos Without Borders story continues as the andBeyond conservation team, professional veterinarian and translocation experts join together to successfully dart and capture six rhino at andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve. These highly endangered animals are carefully transported to a quarantine boma at andBeyond Phinda where they are protected 24 hours a day by our highly regarded anti-poaching unit.

Meanwhile, the team prepares for the momentous road journey from South Africa to Botswana's Okavango Delta. Watch as the exciting story unfolds.

 

Published on May 13, 2013

We are delighted to launch Part Three of our remarkable Rhinos Without Borders story. The first video focused on the vast preparation that was necessary for this translocation to happen and the carefully selected team that would ensure its success. The second video featured the rhino capture itself, an exciting day when all six rhino were successfully darted and safely transported to a quarantine boma at andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve. It also introduced our fantastic sponsors, without whom this translocation would not have been possible.

This third video highlights just how incredible and highly emotive the journey has been for the six rhino. Watch as the team embarks on a gruelling 48-hour security-escorted journey from andBeyond Phinda, through the Ramatlabama border post and onwards to the Okavango Delta.

Watch this space for our final video, coming soon!

Larien Spies, Digital Marketing Coordinator from andBeyond, www.andbeyond.com is inviting Safaritalk members to submit their questions to her and the conservation team about the rhino translocation as highlighted above - so please watch the videos and submit your questions below.

 

Matt

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gallery_1_746_40935.jpg

Les Carlisle: Group Conservation Manager

With an endless string of accreditations to his name, as well as an impressive list of conservation firsts, many of which we are proud to say have been accomplished during his time at andBeyond, the preservation of wildlife has been a lifelong focus for Les. Pioneering the chemical immobilisation of giraffe and the capture of Cape buffalo, he has translocated countless hundreds of heads of game, some from as far apart as Texas, USA, back to South Africa.

 

Les’s history with andBeyond dates back to 1991 and includes everything from the project management of the construction of our first lodges to erecting more than 120 km of fencing and reintroducing more than 1 000 animals at andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve alone. His buffalo quarantine programme at Phinda led to new national protocol for buffalo on private land. He and &Beyond were the first to use sedation to socialise lions from different prides in acclimatisation pens prior to release, as well as the first to transport immobilised lions by air. The predator reintroduction programme he led at Phinda has been hailed as a shining example for all other efforts and his pioneering elephant reintroductions revolutionised international capture methodologies.

 

For more about Les and his work, you can follow his blog updates here.

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With 353 rhinos killed this year in South Africa alone, is translocation to a more secure country one of the more realistic options left to conservationists? If so, why?

 

What guarantees are there that these 6 rhino will not be poached, when other similar operations have failed previously?

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Is there any concern about mobile poachers wandering in from Zimbabwe or Mozambique ?

 

is there realistic security in place to contol any problems with poaching ?

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I've deleted the last two comments on this thread, this is for questions only to andBeyond's conservation team, not discussion. Please don't step in answer questions, little point in it being an interactive interview otherwise.

 

Thanks, Matt.

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Understandably, for security reasons, previous rhino relocation and reintroduction projects in Botswana have been restricted to Chief's Island and the Mombo Concession of the Moremi Game Reserve - are there plans to reintroduce rhino to other parts of the Okavango Delta or other areas such as Linyanti and Kwando?

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I've deleted another discussion post, please, questions only for Les Carlisle and the conservation team.

 

Matt

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1 have rhinos been in the area before, how well have they done ?

 

2 given the recent disturbing trend of a tiny monority of visitors being the research part of poaching gangs and using mobil/cell phones to locate rhinos with GPS positions, is it intended to ban the use of cell phones on game drives?

 

3 so the district names of where the rhinos are don't become known are the rangers going to talk on their radios using earpieces ?

 

4 in the same light anti poaching what is the acces to the place, by plane only ? if not under the guise of extra service are self drive guest beig meet in the car park to being helped with their luggage and checked that they don't have guns ?

 

Matt , questions 2 to 4 are blunt but necessary , I can understand if you might want to pass them onto Larien privately not for answer here. My concern is that such factors are considered.

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Please refrain from answering questions: any posts that do this I'll delete.

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Posted (edited)

1.) What features or characteristics do you look at for a location before giving it a nod for translocation? Is it important that the location is in the heart of protected zone with adequate buffer zones around it?

 

2.) Do you think the poaching crisis has actually made translocations more difficult and challenging? i.e. if the crisis were not so bad in the last 3 years, we would have seen more translocation measures?

 

3.) Do you work with other safari operators for such translocation?

 

4.) Are current efforts focussed in Southern Africa in general, focussed in Botswana or are there plans for east africa?

 

5.) What are the economics of one such translocation if you could run us through the numbers?

 

6.) Is there any kind of post-translocation monitoring and observation that you do that you could describe? For how long?

 

7.) Before you would agree to translocation do you look into the buy-in, acceptance, support of the other operators, government, army, anything else?

 

8.) What are your views on legalising rhino horn trade?

Edited by Anita

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Why do you feel Botswana is a safer location for the rhino (assuming that you do) and are you sure it is going to stay that way?

 

Wouldn't there be populations much more at risk that those in Phinda (again i am assuming it is well protected) and did you consider relocating those instead? (This question could be "Why those aprticualr rhinos?" if you prefer.)

 

 

REMEMBER: DON'T ANSWER MY QUESTIONS IN THIS THREAD. ;)

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Posted (edited)

Interesting I just read about this:

http://www.yourafricansafari.com/articles/fighting-for-the-survival-of-africas-rhino-population

 

My questions:

 

1) What do people use the Rhino horn for ? Is it just medicinal or do they serve cosmetic purposes like the elephant tusks.

 

2) What is poaching so prevalent is south africa?

 

3) How many rhinos are left in the wild?

Edited by johnsafari

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First I would like to congratulate and to thank &Beyond for their efforts to save the rhinos. A shame that South Africa can not protect its rhinos anymore but Botswana is without any doubts the best choice.

 

Now a few questions ;-) : Is Rhino without borders a recognized charity to which we can make donation? Or is it only the name of the translocation operation?

 

Maybe a stupid question, but rhinos can not swim if I am correct, don t you fear that some rhinos could drown in the Okavango delta. If they are on chief island, it s much dryer and safer for them than other places. (i saw once a rhino drowned after being pushed into a small river by another bull after a fight).

 

It s related to the previous question. How was the rhinos population in the delta and in Botswana in general 50-60 years ago? I guess there were lots of rhinos.

 

Many thanks for your answers and most importantly for what you are doing for the rhinos!!

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Okay, last call for question submission and then I'll be forwarding the compiled list to Les Carlisle for answering early next week. (If no more are forthcoming, I'll add to those already up a selection from myself.)

 

Matt

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Hi Les.

 

With the trade in wildlife being such big business in South Africa, would you agree that this Trade is, in some way, fueling the extremely high levels of Poaching currently seen there?

 

What is the origin of these particular Rhinos? Were they purchased originally for your South Africa operations or particularly for Botswana?

 

Presumably the idea, in part, is to have these animals in your concession to attract more clients to your camps, what will you do when they, inevitably, wander off?

 

As the Rhinos in Botswana were made extinct by Humans, what makes you think it is safer than South Africa as there are considerably fewer people per square kilometre in Botswana?

 

Thank you.

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How will you gauge the success of your rhino translocation program?

 

What are the qualifications for you Phinda rhino guards?

 

On a side note, can you describe your Phinda rhino darting safari, where guests accompany rangers working in the field? Is it by vehicle or helicopter or both?

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How is your relationship with both the SA and Botswana Governments and what has been their opinion on this move? How have they assisted?

 

What increase do you expect in visitor numbers once the rhinos have settled in to their new surroundings? How will they be used to increase tourism in Bots? How will these 6 rhino be marketed to tourists? When for instance there are plenty of other locations where sightings are "more or less" guaranteed?

 

What interaction will there be for visitors? Eg the possibility of tracking on foot with the guards, possible conservation tourism where one can assist on the ground?

 

Can you foresee that in future, Botswana for instance will look to buy surplus rhino in game auctions and translocate without the assistance of a large operator, or are they keen to work in close co-operation with other entities such as yourselves?

 

What happens if all are poached in the first year? How would that affect your input on further such projects?

 

How have you marketed this internationally? (Aside from usual English language channels?) What is andBeyond's market sure in Asian countries for instance? How can you use this as educational propaganda, instead of the anti Chinese/Vietnamese rhetoric that is so prevalent in some social media circles? Have you invited any news channels or outlets from China and Vietnam to report on the story for instance?

 

Would these 6 rhino stand a better chance of survival if they remained at Phinda? If so, why move them?

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Thanks everyone, I've added a few more of my own above and will forward them to Larien tonight. As such, I'm closing the thread to new posts.

 

Matt

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