• photo: Stop Rhino Poaching

    Protecting rhinos from poaching in South Africa

In Brief


South Africa, various rhino reserves


To reduce poaching of white and black rhinos in South Africa to promote the long-term survival of these species.

Conservation Value:

South Africa is home to about 80 percent of the world’s ~28,000 remaining rhinos. Unfortunately, over the last decade poaching has led to rapid declines in the populations of the two species found in the country, the black rhinoceros (including the two subspecies, Diceros bicornis bicornis and Diceros bicornis minor) and the white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum). Today 93% of the world’s remaining white rhinos and 39% of world’s black rhinos are protected in South Africa. Approximately 25% of all rhinos are held within private reserves in South Africa.


The main threat to both rhino species in South Africa is poaching, which is is widespread across both state and privately-owned reserves. The criminal syndicates that poachers report to are often involved in other large scale transnational criminal activities that exploit gaps in national law enforcement and criminal justice systems. Despite continued protection efforts at reserves, the poaching threat evolves to outmaneuver anti-poaching efforts in protected areas.


Rangers observing a pair of white rhinos. The species is designated as Near Threatened. Photo: Stop Rhino Poaching

Actions & Results:

This project is supporting select high-risk rhino reserves with strategic and technical advice, enabling the reserves to establish and refine their core anti-poaching and law enforcement capabilities. For each reserve this involves conducting a comprehensive security assessment, identifying and managing risks, and providing operational and technical advice, especially in the application of security management, technology, rangers, infrastructure, use of dogs, and aerial capabilities.  This will yield a set of standard operatiing procedures that strengthen protection efforts.

A key innovation on the technical side is the deployment of a High Definition Radar with Optical and Thermal PTZ camera unit with advanced video analytics. The system will be fully mobile in rough terrain and can run on eco-friendly power for extended periods.

Project Field Partner:

Stop Rhino Poaching


Commitment from ICFC (2019-2022): $487,600 over three years.  

This project is funded by the Elliott Family Foundation, to whom we are grateful for making this important work possible.

These black rhinos are Critically Endangered.  Photo: Stop Rhino Poaching

Baby white rhinoceros. Photo: Stop Rhino Poaching

In More Depth...

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