RCB champions community-led conservation, so that people living near our reintroduced rhinos understand the value that rhinos and their habitat can bring to their communities, feel a sense of national pride in the rhinos and see themselves as active participants in conservation efforts.
By offering tangible benefits to the presence of rhinos in the area, we help to position rhinos as economic assets for the community. This strengthens our surveillance of the rhinos and increases information sharing to combat the illegal killing of rhinos and other wildlife. We hope the citizens of Botswana will become our eyes and ears on the ground, and we aim to make them our partners in protecting their natural heritage.
The communities are vital to conservation efforts. Do you remember when a cattle herder in the Makgadikgadi Pans walked 70 miles to the nearest phone to tell us about a female rhino and calf he’d seen miles from home? He’d never seen a rhino before, but he knew they needed his help. And it turned out that we needed his help to save them.
RCB’s community liaison officer, Mary Hastag, has identified several rural communities living around the rhino reintroduction areas in the Okavango Delta that need our support. It is here that we have launched our new community development programme.