South Africa : uMkuze Game Reserve
uMkhuze is the less well-known little brother of Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park but, as one of the few remaining strongholds for South Africa’s indigenous black rhino population, it is well deserving of our support.
The uMkhuze Game Reserve is a section of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park; a UNESCO World Heritage Site in northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It is home to an enormous number of species – including both black and white rhinos. uMkhuze’s black rhino population is one of two original populations in KwaZulu-Natal. This makes their protection an absolute priority as they have played a vital role in the re-introduction of locally extinct populations in a number of other game reserves, including the more-famous Kruger National Park.
Threats to uMkuze’s rhinos
In recent years, KwaZulu-Natal has become one of the hardest hit regions of South Africa by poachers.The poaching crisis continues to approach a point where the number of rhino deaths outnumbers rhino births and could ultimately lead to a declining population of black rhinos. All this has been exacerbated by drought across southern and East Africa, resulting in a lack of vegetation cover, making rhinos and their calves all the more vulnerable to poachers and disease.
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (EKZNW), the state agency responsible for uMkhuze Game Reserve. Government funding covers basic operating expenses, but as the poaching crisis deepens, the costs of conservation have spiralled and budget cuts have put rangers under pressure.
How your support helps
With the help of our funding partners and committed supporters, we are able to help plug the gaps in uMkhuze’s rhino conservation efforts.
We focus our support on buying essential items for the Reserve’s rangers, encompassing items for essential rhino monitoring, ranger camping whilst on patrols, and law enforcement equipment. For example, we’ve helped improve ranger camps by funding solar panel installations, water tanks, and power sockets for charging radios. uMkhuze’s rangers dedicate their lives to the protection of the animals in the Reserve and it is important to us that we reward these efforts by making their work easier in any way that we can.
Your support helps encourage strong morale under difficult conditions and often intense pressure and, ultimately, helps us save more rhinos.