With the costs of rhino poaching still remaining high in South Africa, Rhino Protect set out on a mission to conserve this endangered species.

Founder of the programme, Damien Vergnaud, started the Rhino Protect initiative as result of the large losses of rhinos to the poaching industry. He is also the CEO of Inverdoorn Game Reserve, located 2.5 hours from Cape Town. Conservation is his game, and Damien is dedicated to saving as many of the endangered species as he can. Therefore, Inverdoorn is also home to the Western Cape Cheetah Conservation.

For the past four years, the poaching count has risen above 1 000 rhinos per year, and 2017 is on track to lose the same. With Rhino Protect, Damien hoped to provide a home and a haven to this endangered species. Since the first adoption of two infant rhinos in 2012, the organisation has become set on conserving the species. Rhino Protect also endeavours to find anti-poaching solutions.

The two adopted infants: Bundu and Lavinia.

The two adopted infants: Bundu and Lavinia.

Anti-Poaching Efforts by Rhino Protect

During a poaching expedition that raided most of the South African game reserves, Rhino Protect came up with a solution to prevent poaching. Extensive research and discourse ensued and led to the development of a barium and dye-infused treatment that would be injected into the rhinos’ horns.

As a result of this treatment, the horn becomes coloured, X-ray detectable and unfit for human consumption. It does not affect the rhino, nor does it change the appearance of the horn. The treatment was rolled out to other reserves in South Africa as well, in a bid to save as many of the nation’s rhinos as possible. This was the birth of Rhino Protect.

Much work is needed to stem the rhino poaching in the country of South African. This includes security, punishing offenders and finding innovative solutions to stop the poaching of rhinos. At Rhino Protect, we focus on all aspects of rhino protection, in the hopes of losing no rhinos to the poachers.

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