JOHANNESBURG – Rhino extinction is a major concern to a lot of people globally. Today as the world celebrates World Rhino Day, World Wildlife Fund project showed the way forward for the recovery of the endangered black rhino.

The Black Rhino Range Expansion Project (BRREP) was established in 2003 to grow populations of black rhino in South Africa.

Despite the current upsurge of poaching incidents in KwaZulu-Natal, the project has managed to help grow the black rhino population to over 500 rhino, representing a 21% growth rate in the population over that period to reach the highest level since the counting began.

BRREP project leader and wildlife veterinarian Dr Jacques Flamand said that they have developed a powerful team with their partners over the years, including Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency, and all the private and community landowners involved in the project.

“Without them, we would never have come as far as we have. Partnerships allow one to do things that cannot be done alone.”

WWF-SA CEO Dr Morné du Plessis said it is apt that World Rhino Day falls on the eve of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) CoP17 which will be taking place in Johannesburg.

“The future of rhino conservation depends on the effective implementation of agreements such as CITES to bring a halt to the pressure being brought to bear on our rhino populations. But projects like BRREP bring hope to the picture in that they contribute towards rhino recovery and show what is possible under the right circumstances.”

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