Our Projects: Saving South Africa's Black Rhino
DSWF supported since: 1990
In 1990, money raised from David's rhino painting enabled DSWF to rescue a black rhino, Shibula from her concrete prison in Lisbon Zoo and return her to the wild. In September 1994 Shibula made history when, having mated with a wild bull, she produced her first calf. This was the start of a conservation success story that continues today. Ten years later, the project to expand the Mountain Zebra National Park (MZNP) commenced, and later became inextricably linked to Shibula. The expansion, by over 200%, was made possible working with other partners and by two further paintings from David, which raised over £200,000, and with matching funds from South Africa National Parks, we were able to purchase adjoining farm land.
In 2000, again with support from DSWF, black rhino were reintroduced into the newly expanded park, including Shibula's first calf Dundi amongst others, and regular rhino monitoring of Shibula, who in 2008 gave birth to her 7th calf, and the newly formed breeding project at MZNP in the two respective national parks was started.
Increased tourism has provided welcome employment for the local community while the increased protected habitat has allowed not only the reintroduction of black rhino after an absence of over 150 years, but has ensured the safety of the critically endangered Cape mountain zebra, whose numbers are slowly increasing and are currently around 600. Gemsbok and disease free buffalo have also been successfully released and are breeding well. In 2008 cheetah were also reintroduced and are already breeding.
In 2011, in direct response to the huge increase in rhino poaching in South Africa, DSWF now funds a vital anti-poaching programme. The project now monitors and protects several critically important populations of black rhino.