Sir Peter Scott Fund project: Black and White Rhinos, Swaziland
- To deploy security and monitoring equipment to gather accurate evidence for increased successes in the prosecution of poaching cases.
- Identification of individual rhinos, elephants and other wildlife activity in support of rangers’ daily monitoring reports.
Following unprecedented levels of commercial rhino horn poaching in Swaziland between 1988 and 1992, whereby almost 80% of the White rhino (Ceratotherium simum) population was lost, the country’s principal wildlife legislation was amended to provide appropriate penalties for poaching, possession and smuggling of species listed under the Game Act, as well as increased protection for field rangers. Since that time, populations of both Black rhino (Diceros bicornis) and White rhino have grown steadily, extending their ranges into formerly occupied areas. However, recent intelligence suggests that the threat to these species is once again increasing.
This project aims to set up security and monitoring equipment which will be used to gather evidence which can be used during poaching prosecution cases, as well as provide data to assist rangers in their daily wildlife monitoring reports.
(August 2009) The cameras are currently being set up (including software installation) and prepared for deployment in the field. Field rangers are providing feedback on areas of poaching activity, and suitable sites for the initial testing and deployment of the cameras under field conditions are being identified. It is thought that by the end of August 2009, data collection will have begun following the successful training of all personnel and the completion of camera installation in the field.
(January 2011) The project has now successfully been completed. The cameras have all been set up, including some which have been positioned along a boundary fence line that patrol rangers have identified as showing signs of being used by poaching suspects. Daylight photographs have been obtained from the cameras, and have enabled the identification of known poachers. As a result, increased patrols were directed to the area, leading to the rangers arresting three suspects who had poached a warthog. The cameras have proved useful in several other poaching incidents, as well as in taking photographs of wildlife, which assists with the management of the area.
Duration: 2009 onwards
Project leader: JW (Mick) Reilly and George Mbatha
IUCN SSC Specialist Group: African Rhino Specialist Group
Project donors: IUCN, Fondation Ensemble & Kate Sanderson Bequest Fund