Director Raoul du Toit successfully applied to the International Rhino Foundation and USFWS for funding to research a new radio frequency identification system for monitoring wild rhino populations. The LRT team have carried out research on the impact of dehorning animals from a physiological and veterinary perspective as well as the security point-of-view. The team have learned a lot through practical experience on how to “re-wild” orphaned calves that have been taken into bomas for treatment or hand-rearing.
LRT has “loaned” its Senior Tracker, Jackson Kamwi to visit other countries (Cameroon, Ethiopia, Zambia) with his superior rhino tracking skills. SRI obtained USFWS funding to send three trackers to Kenya in February 2013 to exchange skills and experiences.
The LRT also employs Community Liaison Officer Simbarashe Chiseva to work on an outreach and awareness programme. Through this programme, the LRT has produced education materials called “Rhino Cards” which it distributes to schools in and around the Lowveld Conservancies to create conservation awareness among the youth.
LRT directly employs 20 Rhino Monitors and an Outreach Manager. LRT’s long-term plans include developing a broader community outreach programme which would position rhinos as economic assets for the community. This long-term, socio-economic approach aims to develop public and private community partnerships for the Lowveld rhino breeding areas to deliver tangible benefits to these “producer” communities.