Namibia Celebrates World Rhino Day On 22 September

22 Sep 2023

Environmentalists in many countries celebrate World Rhino Day on 22 September to raise awareness for these animals, which are critically endangered due to poaching and illegal trade with their horns. 

Namibia holds the second largest population of rhinos in Africa behind South Africa and is home to the largest black rhino population in the world. The country is currently estimated to have 2,100 black rhinos and 1,200 white rhinos. 

While poaching has increased since 2015, dedicated efforts by the government and the private sector - with international support - to protect the ancient beasts, are showing results. According to official statistics, some 380 rhinos were poached to date in Namibia since 2017, both in parks and on private land. 



In 2022, a total of 87 rhinos were poached - 61 black and 26 white rhinos – sadly, among them 46 rhinos in the world famous Etosha National Park. Rhinos are killed for their horns, which are highly sought after in Asian countries for traditional medicines and allegedly strengthening the sexual potency of men. 

The Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism is increasingly stepping up its anti-poaching efforts and on 22 September officially launched its equestrian unit at Okaukuejo in the Etosha National Park. Horse patrols, with specially trained horses have proven to be very successful to curb poaching. Before Namibia's independence, an equestrian unit existed in the Park under the legendary nature conservation officer, Peter Stark. 

The Save the Rhino Trust in Namibia hosted an informative webinar on 22 September focussing on the NGO 'Rhino Rangers', which employs locals in rural areas in northwestern Namibia to guard and protect the free-roaming black rhinos there.  

“Rhinos face unprecedented challenges, from poaching to habitat loss, and it is vital that we work together to protect them and their habitat”, said the SRT in its message for World Rhino Day. 

 Rhino Momma Project 

 For ten years white rhinos are successfully bread on a large private farm in Namibia with the purpose to rewild them. The 'Rhino Momma Project' aims to increase rhino populations and their genetic diversity. This includes relocating white rhinos back to their natural habitats and creating new populations in protected areas. 

It has anti-poaching patrols on foot and with e-bikes, bicycles and 4x4 vehicles and aerial surveillance. Due to escalating costs, it was decided in 2018 to register a non-profit organisation to help support the rhino breeding program in its conservation efforts. 



For this year's World Rhino Day, the Rhino Momma Project organised a fundraising campaign to save rhinos. “To have an even greater positive impact, we have decided to share all funds raised between the Rhino Momma Project and HoRN (Help Our Rhinos Now) Namibia,” the Project announced. 

So far, 136 white rhinos were born to the Project, 36 of these rhinos were exported and most of the others were relocated to protected areas in Namibia. 

HoRN is an organisation in Namibia founded in 2014 to support rhino owners and guardians of black rhinos in Namibia. It provides financial support for rhino emergencies, rewards for witnesses, who provide important information to prevent poaching and for the transport of orphaned or injured rhinos.  

It is heart-warming how businesses in Namibia donate when orphaned rhino calves are found and brought to private protected areas to be hand-raised. These little ones require huge amounts of a special milk formula for many months, which is extremely costly. 

When such a call is made public, businesses react speedily with either cash or kind, being car loads full of the much-needed milk.   

Brigitte Weidlich 

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