Updated: Sep 11, 2019
Black rhino numbers globally have reduced drastically since the 1970's, due to illegal poaching fuelled by the increased value of rhino horn in Eastern markets. Fewer than 600 black rhino now remain in Zimbabwe, and every new birth is a cause for celebration. One such celebration is taking place at the Imire Rhino & Wildlife Conservation Project in Zimbabwe, with the arrival of a rhino calf called 'Khanya', born naturally in Imire's free-roaming sanctuary.
The Imire Rhino & Wildlife Conservation Project was founded by the Travers family In 1987, when Imire was named an Intensive Protection Zone and was awarded custodianship of 7 orphaned black rhino by the Zimbabwean government. Imire's black rhino breeding programme got off to a great start, with 15 births in less than 20 years, and 13 releases by 2006.
Since then, a rise in poaching occurrences means it is no longer viable to release black rhino into the wild, but Imire's black rhinos have the benefit of a large secure sanctuary where they can live naturally under the protection of 24-hour armed guard. This means that baby Khanya (meaning 'Light' in Ndebele} will have the opportunity to be protected from birth, with minimal habituation to humans. He will remain at Imire with his mother 'Kamuchacha' and father 'Gomo' until such a time when poaching in wilderness areas abates enough to allow black rhino to be released back into their wild habitats.
If you would like to be involved in Imire's wonderful black rhino conservation programme, volunteer opportunities are available and are highly recommended. Full details are available on Imire's website.