As rhino conservation gathers momentum in Africa, a new approach to monitoring rhino has been initiated, the use of camera traps.
This approach, being piloted in Pilanesberg and Madikwe National Parks in South Africa is expected to enhance the monitoring of Black Rhino populations, a Critically Endangered species.
Funded by WWF through the African Rhino Programme, the camera traps project saves on staff hours, operates during the day and night, and is safer than having to sneak up to rhinos for proper identification.
The cameras are camouflaged; shoebox sized and can be mounted at water holes, game paths or any strategic positions where long term monitoring is required. They are motion triggered, taking colour photos during the day and black and white at night.
The flash is invisible infrared, which will not frighten animals. Operated by battery, photographs taken by them are stored on a compact flashcard, which can then be downloaded onto a computer.
Rhino populations in the North West Parks and Tourism Boards’ protected areas have benefited greatly from WWF's intervention over the past five years. Pilanesberg, in particular, has been very fortunate over the years to receive outside assistance for both black and white rhino.
About the programme
The African Rhino Programme is a continental programme of action defining WWF's contribution to African rhino conservation.
Amongst other things, the Programme focusses on protection and management of the most important black rhino populations, helps African governments to develop and implement effective national rhino conservation, works to eliminate the illegal trade in rhino horn, and strengthens ties with local communities where rhinos live, building capacity among all stakeholders.
Wildlife caught on camera in Pilanesberg National Park, South Africa