In 2018 we established the Rhino Monitoring and Protection Unit (RMPU), ably led by Nick Long, and which comprised a small team of Bhejane rhino monitors with selected Parks rangers. This team was highly motivated and very mobile, and their mission was to establish how many rhino existed in the Sinamatella area, their territories and ranges, and to try and ensure their protection.
The team soon established there were more rhino than originally thought, but found they were increasingly involved in anti-poaching, especially in the neighbouring Deka Safari Area, in their efforts to look after the rhino. The team proved adept at anti-poaching, and soon stopped the illegal charcoal burning on the Park boundary, stopped the fish poaching on the Deka River, and were responsible for nearly all the arrest of poachers in 2019 and 2020 in the area. On top of this, we still kept tabs on the rhino!
With the success of the team, combined with the increasing poaching pressures, it was soon apparent that we need at least another team on the ground, to monitor the rhino plus undertake the anti-poaching – we are working on this!
A big thanks to Dr Mark Bristow, and Hunters and Guides for funding our RMPU, and to Rhino Recovery Fund.