Botswana Rhino Reintroduction Project








 Copyright AFRICAN CLASSIC 2006

Collaborative conservation efforts between Wilderness Safaris, Botswana’s Department of Wildlife (DWNP) and the Botswana Government have realized a dream with the successful reintroduction of the white rhino into the Mombo area of the Moremi Game Reserve. Mombo’s isolation and variety of suitable vegetation makes the area ideal for delicate reintroduction projects.

When Mombo Camp started up in Botswana in 1977, rhino numbers had plummeted, mirroring the decline of populations of rhino throughout Africa. Global demand for rhino horn, loss of habitat and inadequate protection had resulted in both black and white rhino becoming extinct in many areas.

Botswana was no exception, as the wildlife protection afforded within the parks up until the late 1980s was very poor. This has now changed and over the past 10 years, the Botswana Defence Force and the Department of Wildlife have combined to create Africa’s finest anti-poaching operation, laying the groundwork for the reintroduction of rhinos into the country.

In 2001, Wilderness Safaris together with the DWNP initiated a program that has resulted in more than 31 white rhinos running free and wild in the Okavango Delta.

The first group of four white rhino arrived at Mombo in November 2001, Wilderness Safaris having purchased the first three and the Gaborone Game Reserve donating one - a bull. As soon as these animals were freed, they became the property of the state and the Moremi Game Reserve and disappeared off the asset register.

We know of no other safari company in Africa that has done this! Mombo Camp also financed the construction of bomas, much of the transport and much of the monitoring costs. A further 22 rhino arrived as a result of an innovative ‘rhino-for-roan’ swap between South Africa and Botswana.

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