BiodiversityBlack Rhino Guardianship ProgrammeKruger National Park - South Africa
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The Kruger National Park is a global stronghold for the critically-endangered black rhino and the protection of this population is essential to the future survival of the species. However, following the poaching surge that began in 2008, numbers of black rhino in the park declined dramatically. To halt and reverse this trend, greater understanding of the movements and behaviour of these animals within Kruger is urgently required.

 

In 2017, South African National Parks (SANParks) initiated the Black Rhino Guardianship Programme in southern Kruger, where the majority of these animals are concentrated. This programme aims to safeguard black rhino through increased monitoring and understanding of their spatio-temporal relationships i.e. movements within their habitat and how that changes day to night and season to season.

Key Successes:
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The programme target is to set up 120 camera traps

How it works:
  • To explore rhino movements and behaviour, Kruger’s scientists are using camera trap surveys to monitor the population in designated sections of the park.
  • The data collected from these surveys can be used to follow the life histories of individual rhino, monitor movement and dispersal, and assess crucial population performance indicators such as calving rates and age and sex structures. Dispersing animals may be especially vulnerable to poaching as they are expected to move into areas where competition from adults has been reduced by poaching mortalities.
  • The team will also use census data, animal deaths and individual observations to analyse long-term shifts in home range use by black rhino.
  • Finally, they will collect sightings records from rangers and guides to build a monitoring database of as many individual black rhinos as possible within the greater southern Kruger landscape.
  • The data generated will lead to greater understanding of black rhino movements and identification of poaching hotspots, followed by progressive veterinary interventions and targeted security initiatives, giving Kruger’s black rhino the best chance of survival in the face of unrelenting poaching pressure.
Other Areas of Conservation
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Biodiversity
Community
Sustainability