Southern Africa Bush Tails

​Rhino Conservation in Botswana

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Booking an AAC safari is more than just game viewing; every booking helps us to make a difference in the communities where we work. In addition to funding scholarships and supporting guides at a grassroots level, we also give back by working with conservation projects.

One project close to our hearts is Rhino Conservation Botswana led by the naturalist Map Ives. In fact, we care so much about the reintroduction of black rhino to Botswana, we have been supporting there initiative since the early 1990’s when the first rhino was introduced back into the Okavango Delta to through to 2015, when the grand opening of AAC’s new office this past year featured a presentation by Map Ives and representatives of Wilderness Safaris.

AAC made their donation to the project and AAC President Alison Nolting followed up in a conversation with Map Ives about how donations turn into action to help the endangered rhino population.

Here’s a look at her personal correspondence* to give you an inside look at how the organization works:

From Map:

I was thrilled this morning to arrive in the office to find that you had sent through a donation to the Rhino Conservation Botswana fund. Knowing how much you support the work that Wilderness Safaris is doing with the rhinos out here, I want to thank you so very much for your kindness and generosity. We have so much more to do, and every bit counts, you can be assured that your donation will go a long way towards securing the definite future for these iconic species here in Botswana. I certainly look forward to being able to show you and Mark another  black rhino or two when you next visit Botswana, they are back after an absence of nearly 40 years!!!!

–Map Ives

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From Alison Nolting:

How does your www.rhinoconservationbotswana.com work raising monies?

Map:

Rhino Conservation Botswana is a Trust, which I formed with six other trustees here in Botswana. RCB, as we fondly call it, is completely separate from the Wilderness Trust from whom we still receive much assistance and which acts as a channel for funds from the Resources First Foundation. The goals of RCB are mainly to address the weakest aspect of the rhino trans-locations to Botswana ie. Post release monitoring. Once the rhinos are released into the wild, they need a very high level of monitoring for security as well as biological performance, which over the huge area of northern Botswana requires the fitting of expensive tracking devices to the rhinos themselves, and then the following up of those devices by men in vehicles and in helicopters if need be.

The tracking devices need replacing about every two years, which necessitates an exercise with veterinarians and capture teams, again very expensive. I have to keep raising money to keep all this equipment and manpower in the field, which comes to several million Pula a year, so you can see why I am so grateful for your support.

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AN:

Is RCB independent to, or part of, what &Beyond and Great Plains are doing as well? Where do monitor these relocated rhinos? I had assumed it was just Mombo where I had personally seen the rhino in 2009 with Poster and Tsile.

Map:

The Great Plains and &Beyond rhinos will all become the ‘property’ of the Botswana people once they are released into the wild and therefore will be part of the national wild herd that RCB will be monitoring. Les Carlisle from & Beyond who is managing the trans-location on behalf of the partnership, is aware that they cannot just release rhinos into Botswana, and so they are proposing that RCB take over the monitoring. In that respect we (RCB) will be part of the project.

AN:

Who are your other 6 trustees on the RCB?

Map:

(The board is) Caiphus Mbonisi, Kai Collins, Sam Kavindama, Segametsi Monnamorwa, Mary Hastag and myself.

AN:

Thanks Map! Love that you have Mary and Segametsi on the Board. Empowering the women of Botswana – yeahl!

*conversation condensed and edited for space 

To see rhino both in Botswana (Mombo) and South Africa for yourself, travel with us on an 18 Day Best of Southern Africa Safari to South Africa, Botswana, and Zimbabwe

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