January, 2017

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Rhino Conservation makes monitoring of each animal essential

The rhino poaching crisis is dramatically escalating and if something isn’t done they will soon go extinct in the wild. Since 2007 rhino poaching has escalated by more than 9,000% in South Africa and organized criminal networks have become involved. There is no one activity that can be done to protect rhinos, it is the joint work of many people to protect these beautiful creatures.

Anti-poaching rangers form the first and last line of defense for rhinos. It is very important to have well trained, well equipped, effectively deployed field rangers who are motivated. These essential personal are on the ground daily to protect rhinos, sometimes facing very dangerous situations. The rangers are the best chance of catching rhino poachers.

The monitoring of rhinos is essential for keeping track each animal, that entails knowing population demographics, habitat utilization and recognizing movement patterns. It is also the the best way to identify if a rhino has been poached. The information that is collected can be used by managers to plan trans-locations and introductions.

It is important to teach the the children of today to be the wildlife stewards of the future, we must teach then the benefits of wildlife and how to protect them. As well as making them conscious of how to preserve wildlife and pass that message onto the wider community.

The best way to manage and ensure the best possible growth of the populations of rhinos is translocatins. This is too ensure that an area does not have too high of a density of rhinos and ensure it has not reached carrying capacity.

Protecting rhino’s in the wild can be very challenging and uncertain, especially in the early stages of youth of the rhino. This is too ensure that every infant reaches adulthood due too the low birth rate of rhinos in general. When populations get so low like the Sumatran rhino it is important to have an insurance population in captivity and carry out breeding programs.

It has been identified that that the demand for rhino horn is the main driving force for the escalating in poaching if rhinos. The reduction of the demand for rhino horn in consumer countries is essential to reduce poaching and protect rhinos for the long term.

All these aspects are essential for the conservation of all endangered species but more so for the rhino, by being conscious of these points we can help care for these beautiful creatures and ensure that our children and grandchildren will be able too see these animals.

The miracles of the Northern Cape when traveling from Upington

The Northern Cape is one of South Africa’s biggest provinces with a size of 372,889 km2, therefore it covers more than one-third of South Africa.  It is an arid to semi-arid land and has long traveling distances, incredible heat and receive an annual rainfall of only 202 mm. But it also has some of the most amazing miracles that South Africa has to offer with diamonds that was dug from dirt, wild animals running free in the dunes and landscapes covered with flowers in the most amazing colours.

The great Orange River, that flows from the Lesotho Highlands to the Atlantic where it forms the border with Namibia, separates the Kalahari and the Great Karoo ecosystems that fill the interior of the Northern Cape.

Upington is the gateway to the wonderful Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and the Augrabies Falls National Park and en-route to visit the Namaqualand in flower season.

The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is one of only a few conservation areas that’s left in the word that covers an area of 3.6 million hectares. This area, covered with red sand dunes, dry riverbeds and sparse vegetation the Kgalagadi offers excellent mammal viewing with magnificent photographic opportunities. Even bird watchers, especially those interested in birds of prey, will be overwhelmed by the species that can be seen.

The seasonal movement of large herd like blue wildebeest, springbuck, red hartebeest and eland is a very big attraction for guests, and one can then easily see a lion and other predators waiting for their prey.

When you travel about 120 km west of the town Upington, you will find the Augrabies Falls National Park, that was established in 1966.  The Khoikhoi people named the waterfall the “place of big noise”.  The waterfall has a height of about 60 meters and the gorge below has a depth of 240 meters and runs for 18 kilometers. The Park covers a very arid area of 820 km².  The Quiver Tree is the most characteristic plant found in the park and can grow up to five meters in height.  On your way to the falls one can easily spot families of rock rabbits (dassies) as well as lizards burning up in the sun. Taking one of the many hiking trails one can even spot wildlife like Springbuck, Klipspringer, Pygmy falcon and Black stork.

On the Western side of the Northern Cape, 375 km from Upington, you will find the Namaqualand, extending from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to Pofadder in the east called, north from the Orange River and south beyond Garies – this area is truly a vast and varied region.

The Namaqualand undergoes one of nature’s most spectacular transformations in August and September, when, after the winter rainfall, the land displays carpets of magnificent wild flowers in a kaleidoscope of colours. Not too far away, in the Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, you will discover a wonderful display of blossoming succulents.

So get in your car, drive our long distance, endless roads and experience the magical places that the Northern Cape has to offer.

De-horning of Rhinos in South Africa

Rhinos are facing an escalating poaching crisis at the moment and unless something dramatic is done to protect them they will go extinct in the wild. There is no one silver single bullet that helps rhino conservation, what is needed is a wide range of activities. One of these activities is the dehorning of rhinos.

Background

Rhinos have no feeling in their horns, so when they get dehorned by a trained vet, they feel no pain what so ever. The horn gets sawn of about 2 inches from the skin. It is like cutting your nails. Unfortunately, when poachers (illegal hunters) dehorn Rhinos, they cut deep into the flesh of the rhino to get as much horn as possible. This is extremely painful for the animal if it is still alive. In most cases, the rhino is not shot dead but only wounded. They suffer immense pain. You can imagine what it should feel like if someone cuts into your face with a chain saw… A dehorned Rhino has a much better chance at survival and the horn grows back within three years.

The video

Two Rhinos were poached in the area which forced a neighboring farm to dehorn all their rhinos. A team of about 20 people dehorned 4 Rhino cows. A representative of Nature Conservation must be present at all times to ensure that all permits are in place. It takes about 7 minutes for a Rhino to go down after it has been darted and about 15 minutes to dehorn it. At the same time Vets injects them with vitamins. Blood samples are also taken for tests and the condition of each rhino is investigated. A Microchip is then placed in the remaining part of the horn.

When this baby rhino’s mother went down after being darted, it immediately climbed on top of its mother, as if it wanted to protect her. The team had their work cut out to get it away from its mother so that they could start working on her. The calf never moved more than 20 meters away and kept making calling sounds towards its mother. It can be compared to the sounds dolphins make. It is a very unique sound. The calf was very restless throughout the 15 minutes that mum was down. It also charged the team a couple of times. It was however not long before mum was back on her feet and rejoined her calf as they walked back into the bush.

Rhino poaching is a huge problem in South Africa. Farmers are literarily spending millions of rand for security and protection of the remaining Rhinos. At the moment they are losing the war, but they will continue to fight against Rhino Poaching.

Bow-hunting with a bushman field guide in South Africa

Bushman field-craft is important to consider when planning a Bow-hunting Safari. The Northern Cape Province is ideal for Bow Hunting because of the type of vegetation also called Kalahari Bushveld from where our name also originated. Classic Bow Hunting Safaris into Africa have become increasingly popular amongst discerning archers with a variety of species on offer.