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Hoedspruit reserves get white rhinos

Balule Nature Reserve is among the reserves in the Greater Kruger to receive some of the 120 white rhinos in a rewilding project initiated by African Parks.

In September last year, the non-government organisation, African Parks, bought 2000 rhinos from John Hume, a renowned wildlife farmer, to be relocated to reserves around the country. For relocating to Greater Kruger reserves, African Parks worked with the Greater Kruger Environmental Protection Foundation (GKEPF). The white rhino translocation from Hume’s farm in the North West province took over a month and is the second move to occur under African Parks’ rhino rewild initiative.

The plan is to rewild the 2 000 white rhinos into secure protected areas in Africa over the next decade. The rhinos in the Greater Kruger also mark the first reintroduction of rhinos into the Greater Kruger landscape in 50 years. Member reserves of GKEPF will all benefit from the new rhinos. The reserves are Timbavati, Balule, Klaserie, Umbabat, Thornybush, Sabi Sand Nature Reserve, Mala Mala, and Sabi Game Reserve, and their open system partners, Kruger National Park and Manyeleti.

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“We are so grateful to have been one of the recipient reserves for this historic rewilding project. “This is a reward for the massive investment and tireless efforts made over the past six years to win the fight against the poaching onslaught. A huge thank you to African Parks, GKEPF, and all the wonderful sponsors who made this happen. It was a mammoth operation, and the teams deserve massive congratulations,” said Ian Nowak of Balule.

GKEPF stated on their Facebook page that the Greater Kruger is regarded as an ideal habitat for white rhinos. “In the 1960s and 70s, 350 rhinos were translocated into the Kruger from the former Natal province. Today the Greater Kruger open system of 2.5 million hectares of unfenced wilderness, is home to the world’s largest wild rhino population. “Moving 120 rhinos into private reserves within the Greater Kruger to be rewilded comes when poaching rates within GKEPF member reserves have significantly declined, indicating the effectiveness of the anti-poaching measures.”

Also read: Zero rhinos poached in two years in Balule

“The safety of these translocated rhinos is at the forefront for everyone involved and the risks have been well-calculated. The rhinos are coming in dehorned, individually monitored, and are entering a well-networked protected system,” GKEPF stated. GKEPF thanked the OAK Foundation, Rhino Recovery Fund, Hancock Family, Max Planck Institute, Contemplate Wild, and Land Rover Sandton/ SMH Group for their support for the translocation to the Greater Kruger reserves.

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