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Rangers Report April


Find out what has been happening on our wonderful reserve, and read about the special sightings and encounters with our wildlife on last month’s walks and game drives... from our rangers Darren, Themba & Alden...

“Robert Frost once said that good fences make good neighbours. We say good neighbours have no fences!”
That is exactly how Zululand Rhino Reserve was created 10 years ago, when 17 different landowners decided to drop their internal fences to create a 23000ha Big 5 reserve. Many of the landowners farmed cattle or game prior to joining the reserve in 2004 when after 7 years of persistence the first Memorandum of Agreement was signed. The idea of creating a Big 5 reserve had started in 1998 but it was the Black Rhino Range Expansion Project that finally welded it all together.
The establishment of the Zululand Rhino Reserve resulted in the removal of close to 200 kilometres of fencing. This translated into a large haven for the introduction of critically endangered species. The signatories of the Memorandum of Agreement also became the custodians of a founder population of Black Rhino introduced to the reserve as part of the WWF Black Rhino Range Expansion Project.
After the reserve was established, the next phase was the re-introduction of species that historically occurred here. We welcomed a small breeding group and two adult bull Elephants from Kruger National Park into their new home.
The success of Zululand Rhino Reserve led to it receiving a Site of Conservation Significance (SOCS) award on the 31st of August 2005 for having within its borders natural features and objects which significantly contribute to the preservation of natural diversity in KwaZulu-Natal. In April 2006 we had our first Black Rhino calf born, Amazibulo (isiZulu for the first born). The birth was celebrated as it signified the successful establishment of the founder population of Black Rhino.
In 2006 the reserve’s boundaries expanded even further from its 17000ha when Luthuli, a 4000ha game farm, dropped their fences pushing the total area size of Zululand Rhino Reserve to 21000ha.
In 2009 we set an example for all game ranchers and privately owned protected areas in South Africa by concluding the proclamation of the reserve as a Nature Reserve under the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act 57 of 2003. This significant achievement was celebrated by everyone in the conservation community. Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi spoke as a guest speaker at the proclamation party and shared his passion for conservation and wildlife with all.
The removal of the last internal fence in 2010 welcomed Bayete Zulu and Zen Zulu properties. As it stands today, Zululand Rhino Reserve is a 23000ha reserve dedicated to “saving endangered spaces for our endangered species”. The dedicated work of conservationists on the reserve is evident in the success and growth of re-introduced species. Our Cheetah population has doubled in the last two years, for example and there are always new projects and plans! As I write this, we await the release of our new pack of Painted Wolves (African Wild Dog) today – certainly a historical moment and appropriate celebration for 10 years of dedicated conservation.

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