Black Rhino Range Expansion Project | WWF South Africa

Black Rhino Range Expansion Project

© Adam Markham / WWF
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The Black Rhino Range Expansion Project aims to increase numbers and growth rate of the critically endangered black rhino. It does this through facilitating partnerships between landowners with good black rhino habitat. Often, neighbouring landowners must be willing to remove the internal fences between them.

Since the project began in 2003, 10 new black rhino populations have been created in South Africa. These populations reside in KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo on land totalling over 200 000ha. Nearly 160 black rhino have been translocated. To date over 70 calves have been born on project sites. The black rhino is a flagship for creating larger blocks of land for conservation purposes. This benefits many other species, such as elephant, vultures, leopard tortoises and wild dogs.

In the 1960s, an estimated 65 000 black rhino were to be found across Africa. But a devastating poaching wave swept down the continent, wiping out nearly the entire population. At the lowest point in the early 1990s there were just over 2000 black rhino left. Thanks to intensive protection, that number is slowly increasing. There are now approximately 5000 black rhino. Unfortunately poaching remains an ever-present threat.

As well as creating new populations, the Black Rhino Range Expansion Project supports security of black rhino source populations by providing equipment for anti-poaching work, paying for helicopter hours when vets go out to treat snared black rhino, paying for rhino monitors and buying light aircraft for aerial surveillance.

The Black Rhino Range Expansion Project is a partnership between WWF, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Board. It is supported by the Ford Wildlife Foundation.