Including the ten white rhinos translocated in September and the release of the two hand-raised poaching orphans in March the Lowveld Rhino Trust, in conjunction with Lowveld conservancy partners, has undertaken a total of 65 rhino immobilizations in 2013. Forty-six of these were ear-notchings to maintain individual identification of all rhinos in these populations. Thirteen were implanted with either radio transmitters or Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags to aid monitoring especially of the translocated rhinos which need to be checked on regularly to monitor their progress post release. Treatment for snare/bullet injures has declined from five in 2012 to only one in 2013 but tragically the injuries to this animal were too severe and unrecoverable and the young female black rhino had to be euthanized to prevent unnecessary suffering.
Poaching losses so far in 2013 are the lowest experienced in the Lowveld region of Zimbabwe in over nine years even though the Lowveld rhino population is now the largest it has ever been in recorded history. Only four poaching deaths have been detected – this is in stark contrast the situation in neighbouring South Africa which appears to be suffering on-going escalation of rhino poaching with over 600 rhinos recorded as poached so far in 2013. Because the poaching situation in South Africa remains critical, anti-poaching efforts are continuing to be reinforced in the Lowveld of Zimbabwe to enhance preparedness for the inevitable spill-over of poaching back across Zimbabwe’s border.