BIHL Donates Towards Safe Keep of Rhinos

| December 9, 2014 | 0 Comments

Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL) group has donated P100 000 to Khama Rhino Sanctuary trust (KRST) to support rhino notching and their generic management.

Speaking at the launch of the sponsorship on December 4, a consultant from Vet and Agric Consultants, Dr Erik Verreynne said rhino monitoring and generic management was paramount owing to the rampant poaching especially in South Africa.

The sponsorship, Dr Verreynne said would assist annual notching of youngsters before leaving mothers and generic profiling and appropriate management based on science possible.

Dr Verreynne said that notching would make it easy to monitor rhinos to ensure their safety and wellbeing. He said it was vital that the rhinos in Botswana were managed from genetically database to ensure widest possible genetic variation in the population by avoiding inbreeding.

He noted that all southern white rhinoceros originate from less than 30 individuals, therefore very closely related. Forensic database or generic profile of rhino, he said would help to determine the origin of smuggled horn anywhere in the world.

He explained that there was break through a few years ago, to retrieve a tissue from rhino horn to be able to get genetic data which was previously impossible. Dr Verreynne further said that South Africa (SA) has a lab that deals with genetics profiling rhino horn and Botswana was on the process of being a signatory to them.

Currently, he said Botswana has submitted a number of about 66 samples to that lab. Poaching rate in SA and consequential legislation resulted in a bottle neck of samples and lower priority of Botswana samples, adding that they were considering establishing a similar lab in Botswana.

For his part, deputy permanent secretary for the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Mr Jimmy Opelo said with the unbelievable tragedy that rhinos suffer at the hands of heartless poachers in neighbouring South Africa Botswana has fast become a safe haven for these beautiful creatures.

The unrelenting commitment to preserving the rhino population was evident in the very work that the Trust does on a daily basis. The work done by dedicated wildlife protection organisations, he said, intrigued and inspired him.

Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, deputy permanent secretary said KRST protects and preserves precious natural wonders for future generations. He hailed corporate citizens who continued to support the work of organisations such as KRST.

The BIHL trust has been established with the sole purpose of empowering communities to be sustainable and alleviate poverty, he added. He called everyone to play a role to uplift Botswana, Batswana and the resources.

The chairperson of BIHL trust, Major General Bakwena Oitsile said it was imperative for society to learn what it takes to help rhinos recover from the very edge of extinction. The formula he said was to protect rhinos and sensetise community stewardship on rhino population, manage population for maximum growth and establish populations in suitable locations.

BIHL trust’s involvement in the rhino notching and DNA testing he said would continue to have an impact on issues relating to wildlife, ecology and environment.

For his part, the board chairperson of KRST, Mr Bathusi Letlhare who gave the sanctuary background noted that it has about 56 rhinos. He added that notching rhinos make it easy to notice missing ones.

He asserted that the BDF camp at the sanctuary was very helpful adding that wildlife and police officers also afford them the necessary assistance when need arises.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: General

Leave a Reply