How do you save an animal highly coveted for its horns in a country renowned for its political instability and entrenched poverty? This is the question that Raoul du Toit must face through his work with Zimbabwe’s rhinos.
He works with Lowveld Rhino Trust, which is centrally involved in the protection of around 90 percent of Zimbabwe’s rhinos in private reserves along with conservancy members. Rhino deaths from poaching in the reserves have fallen significantly in the past few years while the rhino population in those reserves has grown.
Rhino Growth in Zimbabwe
Since 2009 Zimbabwe has seen its rhino population rise, the opposite trend from most other African countries. To help reduce poaching, Raoul and LRT translocate rhinos from high-risk areas to safer location, treat wounded rhinos, assist authorities with prosecuting poachers, and intensively track and monitor rhinos to confirm their ongoing well-being. By moving rhinos from unsafe areas into well-protected areas, LRT ensures that bigger rhino populations are able to survive and aims to more than compensate for poaching losses that do occur by new births.
We were honored to have Raoul at the 2013 Wildlife Conservation Expo as a guest speaker where he shared his stories of working with rhinos and of working with people in Zimbabwe to protect rhinos. Lowveld Rhino Trust provides support to local schools based on the rhino population: schools receive a baseline of support from LRT, but if rhino populations increase local schools are rewarded with extra funds. If poaching is an issue, that money instead goes to fund anti-poaching measures.
If you would like to support rhino conservation and Raoul’s work, you can now donate to Lowveld Rhino Trust by visiting our donate page and designating your donation to “Rhino – Zimbabwe” on the dropdown menu.
Learn more about Raoul’s work in the video below or by visiting www.lowveldrhinotrust.org.