Tracking the last Southern white rhinos

Across the 22 protected areas managed by NGO African Parks, technology plays an important role in aiding conservation efforts.

01 November 2023

Geoff Clinning, African Parks

When John Hume’s Platinum Rhino captive breeding operation went up for sale earlier this year, the five-day online auction failed to attract a single bid. The 7 800-hectare farm in the North West is home to about 2 000 Southern white rhino, which amounts to around 15% of the world’s remaining wild population of this species. Without anyone to look after the animals, many worried about what would happen to them.

That is until African Parks stepped in. In September, the NGO announced that it had purchased the operation, with the plan being to re-wild the animals to safe and well managed, protected areas across Africa over the next decade. The cost of this exercise has been estimated at around R1 billion. African Parks currently manages 22 protected areas across the continent and has conducted multiple wildlife translocations and reintroductions, moving over 8 000 animals from 32 different species in an effort to repopulate parks and re-establish populations throughout Africa.

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