Rhino stories – Operations


Rhino Resource Centre – The white rhinoceros Ceratotherium simum simum (Burchell)  became extinct in the Transvaal in 1896. In 1961 the first white rhinoceroses  were re-introduced from the Umfolozi Game Reserve to the Kruger National Park (KNP).    All five species of rhinoceros in Asia and Africa are threatened with immediate extinction and require intensive protection and management, both in the wild and in captivity. Sharing of knowledge among those involved with rhino and their habitats is crucial for efficient and effective management and protection and to advance rhino biology.


Here's What Might Happen to Local Ecosystems If All the Rhinos Disappear |  Articles | Smithsonian Magazine


RHINO POACHED 2020: 166 (Official DEFF 31 July)

RHINO POACHED 2019: 594 (Official DEFF)



More information.




There is also speculation about the possibility of direct involvement in poaching by intelligence or military personnel. Maj. Gen. Gaolatlhe Galebotswe, a former BDF commander, told Africa Sustainable Conservation News that the problem in dealing with sophisticated criminal gangs was not a lack of weapons for the DWNP’s (Dept. of Wildlife and National Parks) Anti-Poaching Unit, but an intelligence service that served “individual interests.”  (Botswana’s President, Mokgweetsi Masisi, sacked the head of intelligence of his predecessor, Ian Khama, soon after assuming the presidency in April 2018. The official, Isaac Kgosi, has since been charged with corruption.)

On taking office, in April 2018, President Masisi immediately moved to take away the APU’s military weapons. This was bitterly opposed by both Ian Khama and his brother Tshekedi, who—despite his fierce opposition to the new leadership’s pro-hunting conservation policies—remained Environment Minister during the early months of the Masisi Administration. In March 2020, Tshekedi Khama said that the APU should remain fully armed: “The purchasing and carrying of guns by wildlife officers is legal,” he said, and demanded that the government return their guns in order to fight poachers. “Disarming wildlife officers is political,” he added. Khama ignored the fact that the APU is still armed, but with the semi-automatic weapons they had traditionally carried instead of military-issue, full-automatic assault rifles.

The story also reported that the BDF denied that recent rhino-poaching was an “inside job” involving the Special Forces Unit popularly known as the commandos—allegedly working “under protest” because they did not get the salary increases that certain other members of the armed forces received in 2019.

Conservation specialists in Botswana also have told me of factional struggles between Khama loyalists still in the DWNP and Pres. Masisi’s appointees, which reportedly are contributing to the poaching crisis and to the lack of cooperation between the BDF and the national police. This was not the case before January 2014, when then President Khama suspended hunting; until then, Botswana’s anti-poaching operations were regarded as highly effective.   Since 2014, rhino poaching has been increasing in Botswana, a country once considered dangerous for poachers. Factionalism within the government now appears to be behind this, and today COVID-19 is making it worse. Keith Somerville updates us on the crisis. 

Any thought that the coronavirus outbreak and supposed clampdowns on illegal wildlife trade and markets in China and other East Asian countries will cut demand for rhino horn is misplaced. Chinese purveyors are now selling rhino horn-based medicines specifically to treat the virus—and reportedly some Chinese health officials have even recommended them.

One result of this is that there will be no letup in Botswana’s struggle to cope with a wave of rhino poaching in and around the Okavango Delta, the country’s most important wildlife habitat and most lucrative tourist destination. In the past 11 months, at least 46 rhinos (mainly white rhino, but some black as well) have been killed by poachers. It is impossible to give a precise figure as some carcasses likely have not been found.

People are dying, too. On March 11, the country’s main newspaper reported that a BDF—Botswana Defense Force—soldier and a poacher had been killed in a gunfight on Chief’s Island, the center of the tourist and wildlife zone in the Delta’s Moremi Game Reserve. The report added that 11 poachers were killed in clashes with the BDF in 2019.

Four days later, five suspected poachers escaped after an exchange of fire with a BDF patrol in the Shaile area of Chobe National Park. This led to recriminations between the BDF, the national police and wildlife officials.

COVID-19 increases the pressure: Botswana’s Rhino-Poaching Crisis

Rhino Poaching Crisis – StopRhinoPoaching.com



The Rangers



Excellent blog – Operation Rhino by Chris Taylor

Chris was born and raised in the Kwa-Zulu/Natal Midlands where his family inspired his early passion for the natural world. 



Various Stories of Chris 


Recently we were treated to an amazing display of acrobatics by the Nkoveni young female as she successfully hunted a vervet monkey way up in the branches of a Tamboti tree.



A great week with many leopards, lions hunting buffalo and a myriad of smaller creatures that bring the bush to life in Summer.


More information / background on the Rhinos.

Of all the threats facing black rhinos, poaching is the deadliest. Black rhinos have two horns which make them lucrative targets for the illegal trade in rhino horn A wave of poaching for rhino horn rippled through Kenya and Tanzania, continued south through Zambia’s Luangwa Valley as far as the Zambezi River, and spread into Zimbabwe. Political instability and wars have greatly hampered rhino conservation work in Africa, notably in Angola, Rwanda, Somalia, and Sudan. This situation has exacerbated threats such as trade in rhino horn and increased poaching due to poverty.

Today, black rhinos remain critically endangered because of rising demand for rhino horn, from some Asian consumers, particularly in Vietnam and China, who use them in folk remedies. A recent increase in poaching in South Africa threatens to erase our conservation success, reaching an apex in 2014 when 1,215 rhinos were poached. Poaching numbers are slowly decreasing—594 were poached in 2019—but poaching continues unabated with numbers remaining unsustainably high.



The majority (98.8%) of the southern white rhinos occur in just four countries: South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Kenya. Southern white rhinos were thought to be extinct in the late 19th century, but in 1895 a small population of less than 100 individuals was discovered in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa. After more than a century of protection and management, they are now classified as Near Threatened and 19,600 – 21,000 animals exist in protected areas and private game reserves. They are the only of the five rhino species that are not endangered.




Rhinos are one of the oldest groups of mammals, virtually living fossils. They play an important role in their habitats and in countries like Namibia, rhinos are an important source of income from ecotourism. The protection of black rhinos creates large blocks of land for conservation purposes. This benefits many other species, including elephants.

Black rhinos are the smaller of the two African rhino species. The most notable difference between white and black rhinos are their hooked upper lip. This distinguishes them from the white rhino, which has a square lip. Black rhinos are browsers rather than grazers, and their pointed lip helps them feed on leaves from bushes and trees. They have two horns, and occasionally a third, small posterior horn.



South Africa remains the stronghold of the White Rhino population and thus no significant rescue effects are anticipated. If South African and Swaziland populations were to decline significantly, a similar trend would be expected in other range states and thus unlikely to be in a position where they would have surplus rhinos available for restocking.

South Africa and Swaziland conserved 90.7% of the continent’s White Rhino, an estimated 18,413 and 76 individuals respectively out of a total of 20,378. Live sales, limited sport hunting and ecotourism have historically provided incentives that helped encourage a significant expansion of range and numbers on private land in South Africa. The private sector in South Africa now conserves more White Rhino than there are Black and White Rhinos in the whole of the rest of Africa. By the end of 2015, a third of South Africa’s White Rhino (~ 6,140) were conserved on private land. 

The White Rhino was brought back from the brink of extinction due to colonial overhunting and clearing of land for agriculture with only an estimated 20–50 animals left in 1895. These survived in one population in the Umfolozi area of what today is Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park in KwaZuluNatal (KZN), South Africa. Umfolozi was proclaimed as one of Africa’s first Game Reserves in part to conserve the last few remaining White Rhino living there. Under protection,  numbers increased, though by 1960 all remaining White Rhino still occurred in only one population.



Kruger National Park

Restoration of a megaherbivore: landscape‐level impacts of white rhinoceros in Kruger National Park, South Africa

African rhinos, it turns out, also seem to be a keystone species. According to a recent study published by Scandinavian and South African researchers in the Journal of Ecology, rhinos maintain the diverse African grasslands on which countless other species depend. 

The places where the fewest rhinos lived, they found, had 60 to 80 percent less short grass cover than places where rhinos frequently hung out. “Short grass” is a catch-all metric commonly used to approximate plant diversity in grassy areas in Africa, referring to a number of munchable species. Rhino-inhabited areas also had about 20 times more grazing lawns, or patches where specific grass species grow that are prime eating for not only rhinos but also smaller grazing animals such as zebra, gazelle and antelope.

Some large animals influence their surroundings more than others. Elephants are known as ecosystem engineers for their tendency to push over trees and stomp shrubby areas in the savannah into submission. This keeps forests at bay, which otherwise would overtake open grasslands. Wolves, on the other hand, are apex predators. They keep other species like deer in check, preventing herbivore populations from getting out of hand and eating all the plants into oblivion. Both elephants and wolves are keystone species, or ones that have a relatively large impact on their environment in relation to their actual population numbers.



Megaherbivores have been lost from most ecosystems world‐wide, and current increases in poaching of rhino and elephant spp. threaten their status in the systems where they still occur. Although megaherbivores are said to be key drivers of ecosystem structure and functioning, empirical evidence is strongly biased to studies on African elephant. >

The Kruger National Park is situated in the north‐eastern corner of South Africa bordering Mozambique in the east and Zimbabwe in the north (24.01°S, 31.49°E). The KNP is 350 km long and ~60 km wide and was proclaimed as a national park in 1926 with some parts protected since 1898.    The climate is subtropical and rainfall in the park ranges from 400–500 mm annually in the north to 500–700 mm in the southern sections. The climate is strongly seasonal; most of the rain falls occur during the wet summer season from November to April.

The 19 000 km2 of KNP are covered with arid to semi‐arid savanna. The KNP is geologically divided into granite‐derived soils in the west and basalt‐derived soils in the east. This strongly influences the overall landscape and vegetation types with more open, productive, grasslands on the basalts and denser bushland savanna on the granites. 

White rhino went extinct in KNP in 1896. Between 1961 and 1972, a total of 336 rhino were successfully released into different sections of KNP.  Although rhino were observed to have crossed the Sabie river as early as 1964.  30 years later in 1991, there were still only an estimated 197 rhino between these two rivers, 10% of the 2000 rhino that were estimated to live in the whole of KNP.  Of the 330 rhino released in southern Kruger, 315 were released on the granite‐derived soils along the western border of the park, and only 15 on the basalt‐derived soils in the east.








Black rhinos moved from South Africa to Malawi to boost population


In one of the largest international black rhino translocations to date, WWF South Africa, African Parks, Malawi’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife have successfully moved 17 black rhinos from South Africa to Liwonde National Park in Malawi.

17 Black Rhinos Arrive in Malawi


Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion Royal Gurkha Rifles worked alongside African Parks to transport the animals by air and road from the coastal South African province of KwaZulu-Natal to Malawi.



Founded in 1961 in Switzerland, WWF is one of the world’s most recognisable and respected independent conservation organisations.     In 1968, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands (then president of the World Wildlife Fund) approached Dr Anton Rupert (a successful South African businessman and conservationist) to work towards securing South Africa’s wildlife and nature.   Dr Rupert garnered support from a group of local business aficionados. They realised that something had to be done quickly if South Africa’s biodiversity – its plants and animals and the ecosystems they live in – were to be conserved.    The Southern African Wildlife Foundation was formed in 1968, later becoming the Southern African Nature Foundation and in 1995 renamed to WWF South Africa.   Since its founding, WWF has been dedicated to protecting South Africa’s natural heritage. This includes plant and animal species, and people.    In 2018, WWF South Africa celebrates 50 years of environmental achievements and impact.


Morges Manifesto


2014 – Volgens dr. Gert Dry van SANParke se raad, het Wintershoek Safaris reeds R6 miljoen oorbetaal en Chapungu Safaris Africa R8 miljoen

Die aankondiging op 12 Augustus dat SANParke renosters uit die Nasionale Krugerwildtuin (NKW) gaan skuif om hulle teen stropers te beskerm, word sedertdien net al hoe meer in omstredenheid gedompel.     Dit is een van die maatreëls wat deur die minister van omgewingsake, me. Edna Molewa aangekondig is om renosters teen stropers te beskerm, maar wanneer dit geïmplementeer gaan word, bly ‘n raaisel. 

SANParke het nou al verskeie mediaverklarings uitgereik in ‘n poging om vure dood te slaan, nadat daar berig is dat dit nou al te laat is om die diere hierdie jaar te skuif én dat van hulle boonop geoormerk was vir jagreservate in die Noordkaap.   Dit het nou wel hierdie week aan die lig gekom dat die organisasie R14 miljoen se deposito’s wat twee Noordkaapse reservate reeds aan hulle oorbetaal het vir meer as 250 witrenosters, gaan terugbetaal omdat die kontrakte gekanselleer is.

SANParke gaan reservate se deposito’s terugbetaal


Kalahari Oryx Private Game Reserve

Chapungu-Kambako Safaris consists out of six safari outfits: Chapungu Safaris, Kamabako Safaris Mozambique and Chapungu-Kambako Hunting Safaris Nambia.


A diamond in the rough. This rare South African gem stretches over 212 000 acres in the Northern Cape Province, making it the largest privately owned hunting concession in the country.

Kalahari Oryx Private Nature Reserve


Chapungu Safaris Africa 

We hunt over 3.5 million acres of prime wildlife landscapes in southern and central Africa including Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Uganda.



Established in 2000 by Jacques Hartzenberg, Chapungu Safaris mainly specialize in big game safaris in South Africa and Zimbabwe. Here we hunt various private and national reserve concessions as well as our own pristine flagship property, Kalahari Oryx. 

During 2014, Pieter de Lange, Louis Kotze and Uys Schickerling, operators of Chapungu-Kambako Hunting Safaris Namibia, combined their expertise and knowledge to create a successful outfit in the heart of Namibia. This young team has proven to be an influential role player in Namibia’s hunting industry. 

In 2005, with more than 23 years’ hunting experience, Jumbo Moore moved his attention from his “Jumbo Safaris” to Kambako Safaris who operate in the famous Niassa Reserve in northern Mozambique. This unspoiled property is every big game hunter’s ultimate adventure.



Professional Hunter and Outfitter, Jacques Hartzenberg is the Owner of Chapungu Safaris Africa.  He started hunting at a very young age and has always had a love and deep passion for the African bush and its wildlife. Big game hunting became a specialty under the wing of his lifelong friend and mentor, Ray Townsend from Zimbabwe.  Jacques has always been inspired by the experiences, stories and biographies of well-known hunters. Combining his hunting skills, professionalism and his ability to stay calm in some of the toughest hunting situations, 90% of Jacques hunting clientele returns, year after year. Jacques is married to Sonja who is an artist and full time mom to their three young children, son’s Jéan and Liam and daughter Émile.



Wintershoek Safaris

Wintershoek Safaris knows what it takes to create the perfect, unforgettable safari experience, and strives to provide the best service in all aspects of your safari. The proof is our flawless reputation and many years of service excellence.

Wintershoek Safaris owns more than 246 000 acres in four spectacular areas in the Northern Cape. In addition, Wintershoek Safaris has access to some of the best Big Game and Plains Game Hunting areas in the rest of Southern Africa. We also specialise in tailor-made Photographic Safaris throughout Southern Africa.


In 2001, Wiaan van der Linde became involved with Wintershoek Investments, which was at the time one of the main hunting concessions of the legendary Johnny Vivier Safaris in South Africa.

With Johnny Vivier Safaris being established in 1982 and Wiaan’s hunting experience up to then, the combined knowledge between the two would prove to be a perfect recipe.

This was the start of a lifelong friendship and business relationship between Wintershoek Safaris and Johnny Vivier Safaris.

At the end of 2006, Wiaan bought Johnny Vivier Safaris, and we are lucky enough to have Johnny still very much involved in the business as Marketer and Professional Hunter.

In 2009, Wiaan founded a Taxidermy Studio, called African San Taxidermy. Wintershoek Safaris happened to be their first client, although today, African San Taxidermy expertly looks after many a client’s valuable trophies.

In 2010 another landowner in the Northern Cape, Hennie Gous, decided to join forces with Wintershoek Safaris and African San Taxidermy.

Today Wintershoek Safaris is one of the best and most experienced Outfitters in Southern Africa and own 4 of the largest and best hunting/conservation areas in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa which spans over 246 000 acres of pristine hunting/conservation land. In addition to these areas, Wintershoek Safaris also offer our clients access to some of the very best hunting areas in the rest of Africa which includes countries like Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, Mozambique and Tanzania.

The sizes and quality of our hunting areas, the experience and dedication of our Professional Hunters and Staff, and our flawless reputation Since 1982, makes Wintershoek Safaris a leader in the industry.

Wintershoek Safaris strongly believe in Conservation through utilisation, and we pride ourselves in everything that we do!

“One thorn of experience is worth a whole wilderness of warning” – James Russel Lowell


Kruger National Park (KNP)

KNP – Kruger National Park



Verseker is daar niks mooier en meer ontspannend as die natuur en die volle inhoud wat aan ons mense gebied word nie.   Indien ons nie elke spesie beskerm nie, wie anders gaan dit doen?   Diere en selfs plante kan dit nie op hul eie doen, veral in tye van krisis, nood of selfs as daar droogtes en ellende voorkom.   

So is dit ook met ons mense wat uitgewis word, as ons nie onsself beskerm en leer om op te staan vir ons regte as Boer en Afrikaner nie, gaan niemand anders dit vir ons doen nie.   Dit is belangrik dat elkeen van ons die nodige veiligheidsmaatreëls in plek het, ook as daar ontspan word, of om die vuur gebraai of gekuier word in die feesseisoen en oor naweke.  Nie almal het finansies om groot uitgawes aan te gaan nie, wat verstaanbaar is.   Niemand gaan iets verloor as daar ekstra maatreëls in plek is nie, maar indien daar nie meer voorsorg getref word nie kan so ‘n persoon later spyt wees daaroor. Sluit aan by betroubare groepe vir beter beveiliging.

Moenie toelaat dat kriminele en terroriste wegloop met kosbare lewens nie – ons elkeen het ‘n reg om onsself te verdedig, al sit ons binne in ‘n ondraaglike, onderdrukte en onmenslike sisteem waar die misdadiger en terroriste meer reg tot lewe het as ons, die burgers wat hierdie land opgebou het.  Meeste moorde vind plaas as dit die minste verwag word.  Moenie vuurwapens in kluise wegsteek nie, gebruik dit.    Raak eenvoudig ontslae van hulle wat lewens wil steel as en wanneer hul toeslaan.   Terroriste het geen waarde tot ons lewens toegevoeg nie, inteendeel is dit meestal vreemdelinge of selfs soms werkers wat dit fyn beplan en uitvoer.  Wees altyd paraat.


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