The aim of all rhino conservation efforts has to be growing and more widely distributed populations of rhino around Africa. ARCC proposes to contribute to that aim by introducing a programme of enhanced breeding of wild rhino within the partner IPZs in the Eastern Cape.
This requires not only an increase in the numbers of rhino on the reserves, but also the establishment of optimal population age and sex structures within the dictates of social behaviours and the ecological carrying capacity of the habitat.
The success of this concept will depend on intensive ecological and veterinary management and research. To that end, ARCC is negotiating with international veterinary schools and veterinary practices to establish a Veterinary Centre of Excellence (VCE) in the ARCC base facility. The VCE will provide the opportunity to link ecological and behavioural research with veterinary investigation into the physiology of the species and thus improve the likelihood of optimising breeding rates. The VCE will be run by Dr William Fowlds, a renown rhino veterinarian.
Translocation of “surplus” animals from this programme to new areas, or to repopulate past range, will be the measure of its success.