Zimbabwe is home to the endangered black (Diceros bicornis) and the threatened southern white (Ceratotherium simum) rhinos that occur both in National Parks and on privately owned conservancies. Dambari Wildlife Trust (DWT) has been involved in rhino conservation since 2000 in the western rhino intensive protection zones of two of Zimbabwe’s National Parks and works closely with Zimbabwe’s Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA) who are the custodians of all wildlife in this country.
DWT’s work is arranged to support the growth of the Zimbabwe rhino population in line with the current National Rhino Policy and Management Framework. Our role involves working closely with PWMA ecologists, rhino rangers and monitors at station level. We help with the provision of essential field equipment and carry out camera surveys that add additional data to ranger patrol reports. DWT is a member of the National Rhino Management Committee that meets annually to plan for countrywide rhino management work. These plans involve a number of activities within the rhino range areas, such as immobilisations, ear notching, dehorning and translocations. Provision is also made to respond to rhino that may be caught in snares or have bullet wounds.
Training of rangers in the Sandwith method of rhino monitoring is carried out by DWT staff to improve the rhino rangers monitoring skills and observation techniques. We also help with maintaining the station population database that stores all information collected on the rhinos.
The camera trapping project, launched in July 2011, is a joint project between DWT and ZPWMA, with support and equipment provided by SAVE African Rhino Foundation (SARF). It has proven to be an invaluable conservation tool for rhino monitoring in the Matobo National Park as well as establishing a photographic record of many other fauna. Significant information is accruing about individual rhinos and their ecology, which is facilitating adaptive population management and security strategies.