Due to a still-persistent belief in Asia that powdered rhino horn can be used as a cure-all medicine, rhino populations are under massive threat from poaching. A recent sharp increase in poaching has most significantly affected South Africa where 1,255 rhino were killed for their horns last year alone. It is estimated as few as 29,000 rhino survive worldwide.
Sanctuary Retreats and Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy (AKP) have strategically partnered with Rhino Conservation Botswana, the Botswana Defense Forces and Wilderness Safaris to translocate 20 rhino, both black and white, into the Moremi Reserve in Botswana where they will hopefully be safer from poachers. There they are under protection 24/7 and have a greater chance for survival. Guests of A&K staying at Sanctuary Retreats’ lodges in Botswana will also have the opportunity to see these endangered animals while on safari.
The complex operation to transport four of the rhino to Botswana was about 15 hours, including a six-hour truck ride to the airport in South Africa, a flight to Maun, and then a flight to the release area. The C130 aircraft carried over four tons of weight in rhino!
AKP sponsored the bomas to house the rhinos temporarily and is facilitating the support and monitoring of the rhino on the ground. The Sanctuary team in Botswana has done an amazing job building the bomas and handling the logistics. And both are excited to be a part of such an important conservation effort!