Biology, ecology and biomedical science at Brighton

University of Brighton biosciences blog

Mother and baby rhino at Mankwe

Poaching strikes at the heart of a private game reserve in South Africa

A cruel poaching attack led to the deaths of two white rhinos and injury to a third white rhino at a private game reserve in  South Africa last month.

Poachers killed an adult female and her five-month-old calf. Although the mother had been dehorned the poachers still wanted the remaining small stub of horn, thanks to the high price it fetches on the black market. The poachers also shot an adult male through the shoulder. Thankfully, following several veterinary interventions he is now recovering slowly.

Brighton’s link to the reserve

Since 2004, University of Brighton students have taken part in a field course on African wildlife biology at the game reserve. Many of them have returned to volunteer their time, not only for conservation, but for the joy of belonging to this growing family. You can read about MSci Ecology and Conservation graduate Chloe Morel’s experience at the reserve in her post on this blog.

The university also maintains a strong research relationship with the reserve with Brighton student, Melissa Dawson, currently conducting research there for her PhD on rhino population modelling. And reserve manager, Lynne MacTavish, was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University in 2018 for her tireless conservation work that has inspired countless students around the world to pursue careers in this field.

How can we help?

Unfortunately, this reserve, like many, has seen much of their anti-poaching funding vanish since Covid-19 all but halted their income from eco-tourism and education. You can help by spreading awareness of anti-poaching initiatives by following pages on social media (Facebook and Instagram).  Or when travel restrictions ease you can even directly volunteer .

Stephanie Thomson • February 9, 2021

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