Gondwana Game Reserve Introduces First Black Rhino in the Western Cape
3 November 2008
Gondwana Game Reserve continues to make a significant contribution to wildlife and habitat conservation. As part of its rehabilitation efforts and introduction of indigenous wildlife into the area, Gondwana is proud to announce the relocation of two endangered Desert Black Rhinoceros (Bicornus Bicornus) into the Western Cape from the Kalahari Desert. This marks the first Black Rhino in the Western Cape since their historical occurrence in the area.
This relocation of Black Rhinoceros into another suitable habitat is an important endeavor for conservation as the Bicornus Bicornus Black Rhino is a critically endangered species and has been put onto the International Union for Conservation of Natures Red List. During the last century, this rhino has suffered the most drastic decline in total numbers of all rhino species and presently only 3600 are left in the world. Intensive anti-poaching efforts have had encouraging results since 1996 and numbers have been recovering slowly.
The Black Rhinoceros is a particularly selective feeder eating only browse vegetation such as Acacia sub species. Relocating the species is therefore an extensive process in order to ensure they adapt their diet effectively. The rhino were tracked and darted from helicopter in the Kalahari and put into holding bomas. Their time spent in the bomas allows them to wean onto a transitional food such as Lucerne in order to ensure they are adequately nourished while they adapt to the new browse vegetation available on Gondwana. Twice daily a smorgasbord of freshly cut browse was laid out for them to sample and choose from. Experts helped to determine what they would likely eat on the reserve based on their diet in the Kalahari and focus was put into what Gondwana’s current browse feeder species were eating such as the Kudu and Eland. It was ultimately an Eland bull who led us to one of their favourites.