The perilous 1,000-mile journey to save Africa’s endangered black rhinos
28 Oct 2022
Last week a white rhino cow was killed by poachers close to one of the SA College for Tourism Tracker Academy training bases.
Alex van den Heever and Renias Mhlongo from the Tracker Academy received word that the poached rhino’s young calf was still alive. The reserve management were struggling to find the calf, despite several attempts, and became concerned that it too had died.
The Tracker Academy offered its services to track and find the rhino calf which was in all likelihood wondering around aimlessly in the bush. Renias and his students spent a day and a half tracking the little pachyderm until they found it hiding in a spike thorn thicket.
The local veterinarian was called in to capture the animal, which she did successfully and transported it to a rehabilitation centre.
Unfortunately the calf is too young to survive without its mother, and will require hand raising until it can be relocated back into the wild.
Well done to the trackers for finding the rhino calf. It may well have perished had it not been found. This is tangible example of how traditional tracking skills has relevance to modern day conservation, particularly with the ongoing rhino poaching in South Africa.
Story by Alex van den Heever
SA College for Tourism Tracker Academy Manager
Visit the Tracker Academy website for more
Peace Parks Foundation has been supporting training at the SA College for Tourism since its inception in 2001. The college’s Tracker Academy was founded in 2010 to preserve the indigenous knowledge and art of tracking.
So far this year, 635 rhino have been poached in South Africa, with 2 084 slaughtered for their horns since 2010.
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