With the second largest concentration of rhino in SA, the Waterberg habitat is suitable for both white and black rhino and vital for the recovery and survival of the species.  Save the Waterberg Rhino (STWR) is at the forefront of the fight against it’s extinction, adopting a multi-faceted approach to tackling the Waterberg poaching problem.

STWR was started in November 2012 to help raise awareness and support the war against rhino poaching.  It is a project of the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve (WBR), in association with StopRhinoPoaching.com, and enjoys a close working relationship with many recognised role players, their experience proving invaluable when identifying projects and allocating funds.

The WBR is predominantly a wildlife and tourism area, with a human population of approximately 170 000 who are directly and indirectly dependent on wildlife and tourism related industries. If we allow Waterberg’s wildlife to be decimated, the implications could be devastating for the community. The rhino is a flagship species and by ignoring it’s plight, we - the human race would have failed miserably. 

The Waterberg has many endangered and threatened species and by protecting the rhino through increased security efforts; educating, engaging and uplifting the local communities, there is a benefit to all species.

STWR Action:

Save the Waterberg Rhino is dependent on funding and donations from the public and receives no government grants. With the support from the local community, our sponsors and partner NGO’s we have managed to procure the following:

  • A roadblock and response trailer, high visibility jackets and decals for roadblocks with South African Police Services, crime scene equipment.
  • High tech equipment such as night vision, camera traps and GPS -Two way radios and a dedicated rhino emergency channel
  • Binoculars and search lights for search patrol groups
  • Bullet proof vests for anti-poaching units
  • Surface to air radio for communication with aerial patrols
  • Close combat training and trauma first aid courses
  • Fuel for anti-poaching and security patrols.
  • Rhino horn sniffer dog and handler for deployment in the Waterberg and Vehicle for dog handler and rhino response team
  • Funding to train 30 rhino monitors in 2014 and 40 in 2015
  • Security workshop for strategic security planning in the Waterberg
  • Rhino horn treatment
  • Security signage along major routes in the Waterberg
  • Environmental education programmes  - Awareness in the form of events, literature and presentations.

A Workshop was held in Feb 2015 to give us a clear vision and to bring the resources of individual role players together for the greatest impact; to increase public safety and to improve security and anti-poaching efforts within the WBR.

The workshop had a proactive approach, being embraced by local government, Waterberg NGO’s, SANParks, South African Police Services, private and provincial reserves, security providers and local communities. Moving forward a strong foundation was laid, with all parties committed to working together to protect and conserve our environmental assets through increased security measures, communication, social upliftment, environmental education and training.

We need support; the war is ongoing.

Lychelle Swales

STWR 

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