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LOWVELD RHINO TRUST

White Rhino Translocation to Establish Community Incentives for Rhino Conservation

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In September 2013, ten white rhinos were translocated from Malilangwe to Bubye Valley Conservancy to start a community incentive for rhino conservation program in this area. These ten white rhinos will remain under the control of the Lowveld Rhino Trust and the conservancy, but will represent a community shareholding in the rhino population in this area. Income will be generated by LRT from donations that will be used to pay financial incentives for the rhino calves that are born in Bubye Valley Conservancy each year.

A proportion of the income will be used to meet protection costs and the rest will be used to provide benefits for the community in the form of inputs to local schools (exercise books, text books, etc.). The proportion of income that is directed towards schools will start from a baseline level which is determined by the number of rhinos that LRT introduced for this project, out of the total population of black and white rhinos in the conservancy. The school inputs will increase further in proportion to the annual growth rate of the total population. If the growth rate is high, the school support will be increased, but if poaching is stifling the growth rate then the income from the calf production incentives will increasingly be directed towards security wages.

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This initiative builds on a similar program which was established in Save Valley Conservancy in 2005.

The materials provided to schools have a rhino conservation theme but also provide teachers with what they need to teach subjects such as arithmetic and geography. The idea is to help communities to see that breeding more rhinos is in their interests. As livestock producers, they appreciate the emphasis on breeding success.

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