Our rhino are finally in their new home at the Ngamo Imvelo Wildlife Sanctuary and are settling in well. But it’s been quite a journey for them…and moving rhinos from one side of the country to the other is no easy feat!
Translocation began in the south eastern part of Zimbabwe, in Malilangwe, two weeks after they were dehorned and “boma-ed” there. A boma is a man-made fenced-area made especially for animals; these rhino had to be kept in bomas prior to travelling to monitor behaviour, check for any wounds or illnesses, ensure feeding etc. Read more about the capture and dehorning exercise here.
Finally, on May 21st, it was time for their big move, with 750km of tar roads, dirt roads, thick kalahari sands and just a few potholes ahead of them.
The rhinos trip North West to their new home.
21 May, morning: The crates and truck are tested, and everything is being checked to see how best to minimize noise and disturbances to the rhino. Everything is on track and the Malilangwe team are extremely professional and proactive.
21 May, 4:30 PM: The first crate is in place and so begins the process of getting the first rhino bull no. 204 inside!
The crate is positioned for the first rhino, no. 204, to be loaded.
21 May, 5:12 PM: Our first bull, no. 204, is in his crate! The second crate is being lowered into position to get bull no. 803 into his crate.
21 May, 6:15 PM: The second bull, no. 803, is in the crate, dosed up on tranquilizers and ready for the trip. After making sure the rhino have everything they need for the best trip possible, the two crates are now ready to be loaded and swung back onto the truck.
21 May, 7:50 PM: The truck, loaded with its two rhino crates, and the convoy of scouts, experts and vets set off from Malilangwe in direction of the Imvelo Ngamo Wildlife Sanctuary.
22 May, 6:00 AM: The rhinos and their security and expert convoy leave Bulawayo after a night of driving. This crossing into Matabeleland North, is a huge step in rhino conservation with the first rhino back in the area in about 20 years!
The truck drives carefully and slowly, avoiding disturbances to the rhino as much as possible. The accompany experts and vets make regular check-ups on the rhino to ensure they are as healthy and comfortable as possible.
22 May, 8:15 AM: The convoy continues its journey to Imvelo Ngamo Wildlife Sanctuary. It’s been a long few hours but slowly and surely, the rhino are getting closer to their new home.
The final stretch of the journey is through the villages and thick Kalahari sands, passing through crowds of community members and school kids, all encouraged to remain as quiet as possible to not disturb the passing rhinos. They’ll all get their chance to come and see the rhino and find out more about them in the coming weeks.
22 May, 11:30 PM: The rhinos and their support convoy arrive, closely guarded by our Cobras Community Wildlife Protection Unit, and greeted by a small guard of invited community members and visiting tourists.
After parking, unloading, prodding and waiting, the larger, older rhino, following by his friend the slightly younger and smaller rhino exit their crates and find themselves in their new Imvelo Ngamo Wildlife Sanctuary.
It’s a game changing moment for Hwange, surrounding communities and the future. Smiles, high-fives, tears and words of gratitude all around.
Mlevu Ward members accept rhino viewing gate fees from present tourists.
Contact us for more information about the Community Rhino Conservation Initiative