Singita: Critically Endangered Black Rhino returned to Gonarezhou after 27 years

Fueled by lucrative illegal poaching, rhino populations in Gonarezhou NP have been decimated twice – between the 1930s and 1940s, and again in 1994. The relocation and protection of this founder population is therefore critical to the genetic diversity and future survival of the species, which is not only listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN, but also a ‘specially protected species’ under the Parks and Wildlife Act in Zimbabwe. Reintroducing this megaherbivore to the landscape also restores part of the ecosystem and is based on extensive habitat assessments, and training of the security teams. There is immense domestic pride in re-establishing a new viable population in the national park, as Shangaan culture identifies a black rhino as a symbol of power and trust.  The arrival of rhino in Gonarezhou NP also signifies a return of the Big Five – which is a major drawcard for ecotourism.

The rhino were carefully selected by age, social behaviour and genetic composition, and are of extreme value to the existing gene pool. They were moved to Gonarezhou NP by road, under the expert care of wildlife veterinarians and ecologists, and remained in a holding boma for a few weeks to adjust before being successfully released into the wild, where they are tracked, monitored, and protected by anti-poaching scouts 24/7. Monitoring teams constantly use body scoring metrics to assess the success of adaptation to browsing, the new environment and contact with dominant bulls. 

Strong partnerships between non-profit trusts, like The Malilangwe Trust, government, national parks and local communities, are crucial for conservation in the future. Mark Saunders, Executive Director of The Malilangwe Trust, says, “We wanted this to be a major success for the long-term, which will take a huge amount of responsibility, but we are also excited to watch the process. It has always been our dream to be a reservoir of rhino to other areas to establish healthy breeding populations, and we knew we were part of something fantastic here.”

Singita’s high-volume, low-impact tourism model, pioneered 27 years ago, helps achieve conservation goals such as wildlife reintroductions.  Attracting like-minded guests and donors who believe in Singita’s long-term conservation vision, along with sustainable ecotourism, is critical to protecting Africa’s most vulnerable species and landscapes. Since 1994, The Malilangwe Trust has been conserving 50,000 hectares of wildlife reserve comprising diverse ecosystems; protecting fauna and 19 free-ranging large mammal species; leveraging Malilangwe’s natural assets and human capital, to deliver a profitable and ecotourism model whilst delivering value to the neighbouring communities.

The far-reaching work that Singita supports through its independent not-for-profit funds and trusts has helped animal populations across four countries in Africa rebound and grow dramatically, turning these game reserves into the ultimate conservation success stories. Guests can support The Malilangwe Trust’s critically important conservation projects. To donate, click here

We can shape a story, or share your story.

Travel writers, editors, and videographers. Distributors to media outlets. And content creation agency.

All in one.

Click here to make contact with our team and find out how we work we bring it all together,  matching luxury brands with premium digital storytellers.

Related Stories

spot_img

Discover

An Unparalleled, Authentic Deep Field Antarctic Experience Awaits

Ultima Antarctic Expeditions proudly announces the opening of Ultima Oasis Camp in November 2024....

Entries open for the first Wagora MTB Ride –...

Singita and its NGO partner, the Grumeti Fund, have partnered to introduce a new...

LUX* Belle Mare: Feasting on Authenticity

A tapestry of flavour at the re-launched LUX* Belle Mare As LUX* Belle Mare opened...

Extraordinary Escapism

The tightrope of balancing desire In a world buffeted by relentless change, from the pandemic’s...

Club Med Val d’Isère: ’45 Things We Adore’

It’s been over 70 years since Club Med set out to build out all-inclusive...

Cultivated Comfort: La Cotte Farm

In another of our articles, we share news of Franschhoek's repositioning to the ‘Valley...

Popular Categories

Comments