Fanfare and fist pumps all round as we get a look at our first White Rhino soon to be translocated to the Imvelo Ngamo Sanctuary as Phase 1 of our Community Rhino Conservation Initiative, that will reintroduce White Rhino to Hwange, but excitingly this time, on community land.
The decision was taken some time back to start Phase 1 with just 2 Bulls, this is precautionary until the project proves capability, breeding age females will only be added later.
So, the Malilangwe Trust set out to identify 2 Bulls for us that though mature were still young with potentially many good years ahead of them. They also needed to be unrelated genetically and preferably two that knew each other to reduce potential for conflict.
Bulls #803 and #204 were chosen, the former 8 years old and the latter 7, they ticked the boxes.
And so last week the incredibly professional team at Malilangwe supported by Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and experienced vets from the Vic Falls Wildlife Trust swung into action.
Before first light on the day the highly trained and very experienced Malilangwe scouts deployed on foot, and by 07.30 they’d found the needles in the haystack. They directed the darting team in and #803 received his cocktail of tranquilisers squarely in the rump. Once groggy he was blindfolded and roped, his identity verified from distinctive ear notches and the team jumped in to cool him with spray water, oxygenate him, monitor temperature and respiration, dehorn him and fit him with a radio transmitter.
The Rhino truck was then parked in position, crane arm deployed and once the crate was offloaded, #803 was partially revived, and ‘encouraged’ to enter the crate. The crate now with a bull white rhino in was swung back onto the truck and driven off to HQ to his holding boma. Quick cup of tea, turn around and back out. And just a few short hours later, #204 was on the truck in his crate headed for his boma next door. This team made it look very easy.
In the holding bomas they are closely monitored. A few days later they were reintroduced to each other and after a little ‘jousting’ were soon grazing together in the paddock adjoining their boma. The next few weeks will help habituate them to people and trucks in close proximity and so help them deal with the 720 km road trip that lies ahead of them
Both in excellent condition #803 is slightly taller and a little bigger than #204 but they are both fit, fat and awfully handsome.
#204 pictured above
#803 pictured above
A short video above of one of the captures
At the Imvelo Ngamo Sanctuary preparations continue, but there’s no hiding the smiles on the Cobras faces, they know the Rhinos are coming, soon!
Thank you to The Malilangwe Trust on a superb job well done!
Contact us for more information about the Community Rhino Conservation Initiative