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Sanctuary Retreats Helps Boost Rhino Population

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As part of Africa-wide efforts to protect the continent’s dwindling rhino population, Sanctuary Retreats is participating in a significant relocation project to transport black and white rhino to the Moremi Game Reserve in Botswana.

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We recently saw the arrival of a second group of black rhino from Zimbabwe, who will join a group of nine who were transported from South Africa in late May.   

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The complex operation has been overseen by Rhino Conservation Botswana, and has involved wildlife veterinarians, staff from Sanctuary Retreats and Okavango Wilderness Safaris, and Botswana's military, police, customs and immigration.    

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The rhino have a better chance for survival in Botswana where rangers will monitor the population continually. 

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Commenting, Charl Badenhorst Sanctuary Retreats Operations Director of Botswana safaris says 'Sanctuary Retreats is very proud to be participating in one of the most important conservation projects across all of Africa, helping to ensure the future of the rhino population.  As an organization, support for environmental and philanthropic projects is fundamental to our ethos and we are committed to taking the very best care and help to monitor this group of rhino to ensure they settle into their new environment.' 

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The black rhino is a critically endangered species with only 5,000 remaining in the wild due to poaching, which has been especially problematic in South Africa. According to the Council on Foreign Affairs, rhino poaching rates have reached an unprecedented level in 2015, with a 10,000 percent increase in poaching since 2007 in South Africa alone. 

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Demand in Asia for traditional medicine made from rhino horn has created an historic price point, often selling for over $30,000 per pound. It is estimated as few as 29,000 rhino survive worldwide.  

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Sanctuary Retreats guests on a Botswana safari will have the opportunity to see the rhinos and learn about the efforts being undertaken to protect the endangered species. 

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The latest news is that this current batch of three rhinos will be released from the bomas (enclosures) on the 28th June. We don't have any more coming for the next few months but we may receive some next year again. One of the female rhinos from the previous release has returned and taken to hanging around the boma as well and has become very well settled, so that is fantastic news as it shows the relocation went very smoothly and the rhinos have settled down extremely well. So all in all it has been a very successful project!

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Cyril Bosch, Seboko Mogolodi (shown in the picture above) and Oscar Moleri are a key part of the Sanctuary Retreats team and deserve a lot of credit for their efforts with this project.  

Photographs by Don van Staden.