In 1994, when the Malilangwe Trust was formed, the donors listed a number of objectives they hoped to implement. One of these original objectives was to “restore historic biodiversity”. As part of a greater introduction program, white rhino were imported from KwaZulu-Natal to augment the existing population of nine. In addition, a founding population of black rhino was also introduced. Fifteen years after the introductions, Malilangwe is proud to be home to very healthy black and white rhino populations. We can attribute the success of the reintroduction program to the fact that a large portion of our soils are rich, thus providing nutritious forage for both species. In addition, we have had generous support from our donors and unrivalled commitment from our managers and security team.
The wildlife management team has developed a practical method of monitoring Malilangwe’s white and black rhino populations. A system of ear notches is used to uniquely identify all animals, which allows a well-trained and equipped scout force to closely monitor them. Daily sightings are recorded in specially designed sighting books, which are collected monthly by research technicians who capture the data into a state-of-the-art animal population database. The data can be queried to produce reports that guide management decisions. The rhino program has been very successful, with numbers of both species growing substantially from their initial founder populations.