Since 1987 we have distributed over AUD$ 12.5 million
Over the past 34 years, we have donated masses of vital anti poaching supplies, including 21 4wd trucks and spares, 25 motorbikes, 14 outboard motors, 10 rebuilt engines, 15 tons of used field kit (boots, packs, overalls, tents), 250 gps, 300 two way radios and batteries, veterinary supplies, helicopter hire, satellite communications, 100 cameras and 150 camera traps, expert field training and logistical personnel support, and masses of other stuff!
It is important to know that WE DON’T GIVE ANY MONEY, JUST ITEMS! To know more about how SARF’s support is allocated, please explore more about some of the projects we support.
Rhino poaching started in Zimbabwe in November 1985 as Zimbabwe was the next country in the poachers’ sights, having nearly cleaned out Kenya, then Tanzania and then Zambia, all to the north. Rhino numbers plummeted from 2,500 in 1985 to just 270 in 1993.
In September 1993 National Parks convened a rhino security workshop. As a result, four Intensive Protection Zones (IPZs), and three private conservancies, were created. The IPZs were Sinamatella, Matusadona, Matobo and Chipinge, whilst Save Valley, Bubiana and the Midlands were the private reserves. Both groups started with about 135 black rhinos each and much has happened since then. The four IPZs have reduced to less than 35 and the conservancies have increased to over 480.
For our first 25 years of support we concentrated on the National Parks projects – IPZs – and at least 65% of our annual expenditure went there. In 2012 we revised our strategy and decided that we had to direct our greatest efforts to the areas that had proved to be most successful in the previous 20 years.
The south and south east of Zimbabwe has 90% of the country’s black and white rhinos and our efforts will continue to be aimed in this direction, though we still support National Parks in quite a big way to assist in their overall logistical effort.
National Parks Rhino Projects
Sinamatella is in the northwest corner of Zimbabwe’s main national park, Hwange. Over the past 20 years since its inception as an Intensive Protection Zone, it has been our biggest and best National Parks project. Rhinos reached nearly 100 in the early 2000s, but sadly, since 2003, there’s been a continual battle against poaching. The rhino death toll in the area from poaching has been severe, with now only a possible 10 animals left!
In 2003, a major management program to insert radio-transmitter in the rhino horns was co-funded by SAVE African Rhino Foundation and Dambari Wildlife Trust. This programme has been ongoing since and we are offering considerable field assistance to the area, under the management of Stephen and Sue Long.
We have funded considerable specialised training for the rangers and provide ongoing logistical and internet support to the park. Further information is available at www.bhejanetrust.org.
In May of 2014 Sinamatella was a proud receiver of an old army Singapore land rover defender to retire the other vehicle. This ‘new’ vehicle will help with logistical support including ranger deployments and communications
Over the past ten years, 2011/21, we have invested $300,000 in this key area.
Matusadona National Park
Matusadona is located on the shores of Lake Kariba. In 1988, there were thought to be about 180 rhinos in the area, 60 in 1991 and during the 1993 de-horning programme, only 14 animals could be found. The headquarters of the IPZ are at Tashinga, which also serves as a rhino rehabilitation centre, where the captive-bred calves from Imire Game Ranch are relocated and gradually introduced into the wild. The rhinos were closely watched during their first 3 years in the area before their final release.
We have three 4wd vehicles here, all in need of repair and one having been recently written off as a result of a drunk, unlicensed driver going off a bridge in it. Not surprisingly, no disciplinary action has been taken against the driver!
In line with poaching activity around the rest of the country, the rhino numbers are dwindling, now thought to be as low as 1!
A relatively new initiative, Matusadona Anti Poaching Project (MAPP), is endeavouring to assist with law enforcement in the area and has made remarkable progress since their introduction.
Please check out their Facebook
Our involvement here has been extensive over the years, and $123,000 has been spent in the last seven years in our attempts to assist National Parks.
Matobo National Park
This has always been the main breeding ground for white rhinos and some have recently had to be transferred from this area, due to over-crowding. There is also a viable breeding herd of black rhinos in the area. SAVE African Rhino Foundation has contributed to the work of this area via donations of vehicles, clothing, radios and other kit.
In addition we also fund the ongoing camera trap rhino monitoring programme with Dambari Wildlife Trust controlling the field work. More than 35 camera traps feed back regular information on rhino and other wildlife and human activity.
We also donate heavily into the rhino management operations, both ear nothing and dehorning.
Although a relative safe haven for rhino in Zimbabwe, Matobo National Park has had issues with cattle grazing and fires within the park boundaries. In 2013 SAVE African Rhino Foundation helped fund the erection of fencing in critical are around the park boundaries, keeping poachers out and wildlife within the national park.
Please check out the web page for the Matabo Fence Project
Matobo has received just over $290,000 of assistance since 2011.
Chipinge Safari Area
This is the smallest of the IPZs, situated in the eastern Highlands. Rhinos have bred well in this very rough, rugged terrain. They started with seven and multiplied to 31 and are now back down to 13.
In collaboration with AWARE Trust, www.awaretrust.org, we fund the camera trap rhino monitoring programme, with 15 strategically placed camera traps, and this year we partly funded the aerial rhino operations programme, the first for a while.
$110,000 has been invested into Chipinge in the last ten years.
Main Camp has been the home to a good white rhino population since 2002, with more than 20 rhinos having been transferred there from Matobo. This number grew to 46, according to National Parks scientific services. Hence it was a great surprise to only find 12 when dehorning took place in 2010. Now we believe this number to be ZERO!
A local identity has been sentenced to 13 years imprisonment for his part in these crimes and lasted three months before managing to persuade the authorities to release him!
To help rhino protection whilst it lasted we supplied $100,000 since 2011.
Lake Kyle & Lake Chivero
Both Kyle and Chivero are near to major cities, Masvingo and Harare respectively, and homes to viable white rhino herds. They continue to slowly increase in numbers and are well managed and monitored each day.
Our very first Toyota landcruiser, Waltzing Matilda, purchased brand new in 1992 from the proceeds of our first David Gower dinner/auction at Coco’s, has been based at Kyle for the last two years, having served most of her working life at Chipinge. We congratulate Silas the mechanic for his ongoing maintenance of this elderly flagship of our fleet.
We have spent $60,000 in these parks in recent years, mainly on dehorning and 4wd repairs.
Gonarezhou National Park
Gonarezhou National Park is Zimbabwe’s second largest national park in the south east of the country and forms an integral part of the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park. In 2010 Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) signed an MoU with the Zimbabwean government for a 10 year lease to manage the area, with the intent to improve infrastructure and reintroduce rhino which have been extirpated from the area.
SAVE African Rhino Foundation has been supporting FZS with equipment such as uniforms in the hopes that they will be ready to receive rhino into the National Park once the rhino security is under control. This necessitates massive training programmes, secure fencing and adequate housing for the rangers and their families.
In recent years we have spent more than $50,000 on this project for field uniforms and aircraft maintenance.
Greater Lebombo Conservancy
The Sabie Game Park (SGP) is located in Maputo province, Mozambique and borders Kruger National Park (KNP) in South Africa to the west.
SGP is approximately 70,000 acres in size, and forms part of the Peace Park Foundation’s Trans Frontier Conservation Area (TFCA) called the Greater Lebombo Conservancy (GLC). Due to its size, the GLC represents an almost self-contained natural ecosystem. Geographically, the GLC is also critically important to rhino conservation efforts as it acts as a buffer zone between the largest concentrations of the world’s remaining rhinos in KNP to the west and the poachers from Mozambique who live in the communities just east of the GLC.
Working in close partnership with Sabie Game Park (SGP) as well as the Government of Mozambique, the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF) established operations in SGP in July 2015. IAPF is currently the only Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) engaged in direct action anti-poaching efforts in this area. The IAPF aims to expand their operations from SGP across the whole of the GLC, which would result in a secure buffer zone for KNP.
IAPF has already had success in capturing a number of poachers as well as causing a lot of discomfort for those higher up the chain.
Save African Rhino Foundation has progressively become more and more involved with the project as we see both the strategic importance of the project as well as the continued success it is having.
SARF has donated over $152,000 to this project.
Save Valley Conservancy
The Savé Valley Conservancy (SVC) is one of the largest private wilderness areas in Africa, measuring 120km N-S and 32 E-W. It consists of sixteen farms, most of which are still occupied by the original owners. Having transformed from cattle country to wildlife in the early 1990s, hunting has been the main business of the conservancy. With recent restrictions to this livelihood we decided to become involved in a big way in 2011.
We are donating field kit, wages, vehicles and training to this project. Existing wildlife has been disturbed by increasing amounts of land re-distribution settlement. Save Valley Conservancy boasts a large population of both black and white and is one of the last great strongholds of rhino in Zimbabwe.
This is now our biggest single project with an amazing $2,500,000 donated in the past ten years. Our major funding partners in this vital initiative are OAK Foundation, African Wildlife Foundation and TUSK Trust.
There is also a very important Wild Dog project in SVC – see www.africanwildlifeconservationfund.org
We have been donating kit as well as four vehicles for the past five years and have recently made this project a top priority.
A short film ‘Maria’ with one of the anti-poaching units we support
This poaching gang has now been eliminated!!!!
A segment on Channel 9 News about the support we give to this project
Midlands Black Rhino Conservancy
This area consists of sixteen adjoining farms, most of which are no longer occupied by the original owners. SAVE African Rhino Foundation became involved in their early rhino days and marvelled as the numbers increased from 30 to 60+. We helped with various aspects of rhino management in all our usual ways, as well as the de-horning programme currently being planned for the area. Rhino numbers have severely declined in the area since 2003 and are now down to 4!
The main suspect for these illegal killings has been arrested on four separate occasions and managed to persuade the authorities to release him each time!?
There is now an annual Mid West Rhino cricket tournament each May and we contribute with auction items for sale.
We can no longer justify too much expenditure here though we have helped with more than $100,000 in the past 10 years, plus a second hand landrover.
Bubye River Conservancy
In the south of the country can be found Bubye Valley Conservancy, which is a large wildlife area used for hunting (not rhinos). Their rhino programme began in 2003 when rhinos were moved there from vulnerable areas and it has continued to grow as a rhino stronghold, contributing more than 100 black rhino calfs in this short space of time.
Since 2015 we have contributed more than $150,000 into this key area. Sadly since 2015/18 Bubye River has lost over 90 rhinos to poaching.
In recent times this trend has been halted and now there is a new owner of the conservancy and Bubye is self sufficient.
This is an example of an extremely well funded and well managed wildlife reserve, home to good numbers of white and black rhinos, whose numbers have quadrupled since 1995. Over the years SARF has contributed in small ways to the rhinos of this Lowveld property by helping in some specialist areas, but the trust is nowadays self funded.
This is an amazing not-for-profit project, started in 1994, and not least of which is the successful daily feeding of 19,500 school children in the surrounding communities.
Small Breeding Centres
Imire Game Ranch
Back in 1987 seven orphan rhinos, four females and three males, were rescued in the Mana Pools area and taken to Imire Game Ranch to be hand reared, the first such project in Zimbabwe. We’ve been funding them in different ways since 1991. In the mid nineties the first calves were born and a total of 14 have resulted. The dominant male and female were relocated to Matusadona, as were the first eight surviving calves. A cow was killed by an elephant in 2004 and the dominant male went to Botswana in 2006. The remaining three rhinos were killed by poachers in their overnight pens in 2007.
This left four calves who have grown up together and two white rhinos have been translocated from Matobo. All are doing well and there are probably some pregnancies there. In the last ten years we have assisted with $40,000 including contributions to their local education fund, dehorning and scout uniforms.
There is now a third generation black rhino calf at Imire.
A breeding programme was started in Victoria Falls in 2007, on private land, with two cows from Chipingali and a bull (ex Imire calf) from Matusadona. They have been very successful with four calves each and we recently offered some moderate support, $4,000 as other organisations have a much greater role there.
One calf and two bulls have joined the breeding programme in North Luangwa NP in Zambia.