March 2015 – Wilderness Safaris, in partnership with the Botswana and South African Governments, is delighted to announce the next phase of its pioneering rhino translocation programme, which began as far back as 1999. The project partners have signed the purchase agreement for a further significant addition of both Critically-Endangered black rhino and Near-Threatened white rhino to bolster existing Botswana populations, with operations taking place in the first half of 2015.
Since the project’s first reintroductions, under this joint programme, of white and black rhino into the Okavango Delta in October 2001 and November 2003 respectively, populations of both species have grown and the country has proven its credentials in being able to provide a safe habitat for these charismatic and dramatically threatened species.
While white rhino have generated the majority of media attention in the last few years of intense poaching pressure in South Africa and certainly continue to bear the brunt of this assault today, black rhino are far more threatened, totalling a global population of less than 5 000 individuals (white rhino number around 20 000 individuals). “As a result of this, and on the back of a very healthy white rhino population already in existence in the Okavango, we have focused our recent efforts over the last few years on black rhino in particular. During the course of 2014, we were honoured to have facilitated the reintroduction of further black rhino into the Okavango Delta in several complex and delicate operations”, says Wilderness Safaris Group Conservation Manager, Kai Collins.
Following the next phase of translocations – valued at well over R7 million – Wilderness Safaris will have moved nearly 1% of the continent’s remaining black rhino population to Botswana through its Rhino Reintroduction Project, the success of which has already been measured in the number of calves born in the wild. (Please note that specific figures and locations are not mentioned in order to avoid drawing unwelcome illicit attention and to ensure the ongoing safety and security of the rhino.)
“With South Africa’s rhino poaching crisis showing no signs of abating, it has become absolutely critical that we continue to take decisive action in ensuring the ongoing survival of the species. Together with our long-standing partners, we are in the fortunate position of having the necessary relationships, infrastructure and people in place to expedite this process, and in doing so, continue to make a meaningful impact on rhino conservation. With each operation, we gain invaluable experience and insight that shape our strategies and plans for the future – not only in terms of moving the rhino, but also in ensuring their ongoing safety”, adds Collins.
Once released into the wild, the rhino are constantly monitored by Wilderness Safaris’ Rhino Monitoring Officers, the Botswana Defence Force, the Department of Wildlife and National Parks’ specialised Anti-Poaching Unit and officers of Rhino Conservation Botswana, in order to ensure that they are not exposed to any potential threats.
“We are extremely thankful for the ongoing support of our partners in the Botswana and South African governments and their respective conservation agencies – especially the unheralded efforts of the guys on the ground in the Botswana Defence Force and the Wildlife Department’s Anti-Poaching Unit. We also could not have achieved this without our sponsors, including the Wilderness Wildlife Trust, International Rhino Foundation, the Tiffany & Co Foundation, Empowers Africa, and a number of very generous anonymous individual donors, to name a few, who have enabled us to embark on this next phase of the project and ensure its success”, concludes Collins.
Click here to watch a short, inspirational video on the Botswana Rhino Reintroduction Project.
A SAFARI FOR FREE?
WELL, FOR THE RHINOS!
Great Plains Conservation has committed alongside industry partners to undertake a relocation of rhinos on a magnitude never done before – to relocate no less than 100 rhino from South Africa to safe havens in Botswana. By mid-2015, this relocation operation will take place with an assertive and elaborate anti-poaching force and strong commitment to save this species.
Our fundraising campaign, Zeros For Rhinos, will ensure this relocation initiative is a success; striving to rescue this treasured species from spiraling to extinction. What is gained is the knowledge that we all collectively stopped a species from meeting its maker. Great Plains Foundation, our non-profit partner, will raise the funds to do it, and every dollar counts.
As a fundraiser, Great Plains Conservation has contributed a limited number of safari bednights to the Great Plains Foundation. The cost of your stay in these three camps goes to the fundraising efforts of the Zeros for Rhinos initiative!
Join us at Zarafa, Selinda or Selinda Explorers camps
an exclusive way of experiencing Africa while contributing to this tremendous initiative!
Included in this limited offer are value-add surprises in camp.**
1 800 886-7321, (415) 444-5100
or Email us
Can’t come on safari? We’ll miss you, but you can still contribute to the Zeros for Rhinos campaign. Any amount counts and matters – $10 from many people will very quickly add up.
Want to know more about this initiative and how we will do it? Read a Q&A with Dereck Joubert here.
&BEYOND AND GREAT PLAINS CONSERVATION JOIN FORCES TO TRANSLOCATE UP TO 100 RHINO
The battle to save the rhino from extinction won’t be won tomorrow; however, with joint initiatives such as this, the battle won’t be lost tomorrow either.
GREAT PLAINS CONSERVATION IS THE
“MOST LIFE-ENRICHING EXPERIENCE”
Great Plains Conservation is thrilled to receive the award for Most Life-Enriching Experience at the inaugural and prestigious PURE Awards 2013 last night at the close of the PURE Life Experiences show at the Palais des Congrès, Marrakech.
The award is described by PURE as “truly transformational, thought-provoking and perspective-shifting travel experiences that help the individual reconnect with both themselves and the world around them.”
The selection process is rigid, starting with initial nomination by ‘PUREists’, a collection of the world’s elite buyers and sellers of experiential travel services. It is then judged by a distinguished panel of visionaries in travel: oceanographer and explorer, Sylvia Earle; actor and director, Edward Norton; environmental entrepreneur, Colin Bell; award-winning author and adventurer, Richard Bangs; and sustainable architect, German del Sol.
On describing Great Plains Conservation’s co-founders, Dereck and Beverly Joubert, Sylvia Earle commented: “The Jouberts convey their passion and deeply held conservation ethic and respect for the natural world that is unsurpassed, no matter what the setting, but especially in their beloved African plains. This is conveyed to those fortunate enough to travel in their presence.”
Dereck Joubert, Great Plains Conservation CEO, feels particularly honoured and says the award “encapsulates exactly what we set out to do at Great Plains Conservation: create experiences which spotlight the spiritual, personal, cultural and environmental Africa. Through these experiences we change lives and create conservation ambassadors – a positive outcome in the face of many challenges on the continent.”
Jouberts win Outstanding Achievement Award at Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival
“Stop the Killing, Stop the Trade and Stop the Market,” said Dereck and Beverly Joubert, National Geographic Explorers–in–Residence, filmmakers and conservationists, in their powerful keynote speech at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, September 26th. Ironically the day that 81 elephants were poisoned by poachers with cyanide in Zimbabwe was the day that the Jouberts were recognized with the Outstanding Achievement Award at the Festival — past honorees include, Dr. Richard Leakey, Dr. Jane Goodall and Sir David Attenborough.
The Jouberts said in their keynote speech, “Poaching today has reached epidemic proportions and the same individuals who deal in drugs, slavery and arms are also dealing in ivory and rhino horn. And they are not playing by any rules. There is a $27 billion a year trade in illegal animals and animal parts out of Africa so unless we are in a position to fight that with real money, we will lose. When we lose, elephants, lions and rhinos lose. When they lose, communities in Africa lose, Everyone loses. This is a declaration of war against poaching and a call to action to everyone. We are about to record the 700th rhino poached this year alone. Unless we are making conservation films at this time we are wasting our voice. This is when we are most needed to drive home messages of conservation to the world. The area that natural history filmmakers can play a role is in stopping the market. Our films collectively reach billions of people, that opportunity is completely wasted by producing television fluff and broadcasting meaningless TV fodder.”
“National Geographic has to be commended on many levels, but notably when we came to them with our concerns they backed the establishment of the Big Cats Initiative which now has over 44 projects in 18 countries and given away over $1m in grants. It’s shocking that people still say that lions could not go extinct, but they have already gone extinct in 26 countries, and only 7 have populations of over 1,000.”
Dereck and Beverly Joubert have celebrated nature and wildlife in documentaries, books, scientific journals, photographs and magazine articles for 30 years. Earning them seven Emmys, a Peabody, and a Grand Teton Award at Jackson Hole. Their work was featured on CBS 60 Minutes last year.
“Wildlife filmmaking has changed over the three decades we have been involved. It’s time for filmmakers to develop into conservationists and not be afraid of advocacy. We are starting a new conversation movement and a film company, both based in China, because this is where our voices need to be heard, this is where the largest consumption of lion bone, rhino horn and elephant ivory is, and without those three species, African wildlife will collapse” they say.
The Jouberts, from Botswana, are building a new model for conservation as partners in Great Plains Conservation, a collection of safari properties in Botswana and Kenya that acquires hunting or threatened land and converts it to conservation. Striking a balance of conservation, community and commerce, Great Plains Conservation saves endangered habitats in Africa through its low–impact tourism and compassionate management and presently has around 1,000,000 acres under management.
Dereck & Beverly Joubert will debut their new film, Game of Lions during Nat Geo WILD’s highest rated week, Big Cat Week premiering this November on Nat Geo WILD in the USA initially. According to Dereck Joubert there are 20,000 lions left on Earth. Only 3,500 of those are males. Although they are born at a 50/50 ratio, by the time they reach maturity, only one in eight male lions survive. The Jouberts take an unflinching look at what happens to the rest in this spirited, moving and heartbreaking film.