LEO is very passionate and dedicated towards the conservation and protection of both black and white rhinos, which are under increasing threat from poachers for their horns. Rhino horns are more valuable than gold or cocaine and are illegally obtained* to be shipped off to areas including Vietnam or China where they are used in traditional medicine**
Numbers of Rhino Poached from 2007 to 2018 in South Africa
The current rhino poaching crisis began in 2008, with increasing numbers of rhino killed for their horn throughout Africa until 2015. Thankfully, there has been a decrease in the number of rhinos poached across Africa since the peak of 1,349 in 2015. Yet, two and a half rhinos are still killed every single day: there is still a lot more to do.
South Africa holds nearly 80% of the world’s rhinos and has been the country hit hardest by poaching criminals, with more than 1,000 rhinos killed each year between 2013 and 2017.
The decline in the number of poached rhinos may demonstrate that the anti-poaching work taking place is having an effect, or it may also demonstrate that with significantly fewer rhinos surviving in the wild, it is getting harder for poachers to locate their prey. More action is needed to stop the illegal trade and ensure rhinos have a positive future. This means supporting anti-poaching work, but also good overall management of rhino populations by ensuring high-quality biological management.
Rhino poaching has increased exponentially since 2007 and both national parks and private game reserves are being targeted equally in this rhino war. On the front lines fighting are the anti-poaching patrol teams, which you will learn about firsthand while volunteering at LEO. The park's anti-poaching is conducted by a private group with no relation to LEO. While it is not possible to directly participate in these patrols, there are many opportunities to learn about anti-poaching methods and techniques while here.
By keeping an active eye on the park rhinos, collecting data on their behaviour, and their health, creating ID kits, you help increase their protection while contributing to the knowledge of the park's overall rhino population.
* The international trade in rhino horn or rhino products has been banned since 1977.
** Scientific testing has confirmed that rhino horn has NO medicinal properties.
NB For safety reasons, we do not allow the publication of rhino photos on any digital platform.
For additional information on rhinos (and the current rhino war), please check out these links:
Here at LEO Africa, we are very proud to help support our local community of anti-poachers as they live a tough life in the bush protecting the wildlife. Anti-poaching patrol teams are not just an integral part of any game reserve but are often the unseen heroes of the bush as they go about their daily activities (such as sweeps for snares, patrol drives, patrol walks, setting up ambushes, night-long watches, etc.) in stealth mode carrying basic equipment and eating basic rationed food.
The life of an anti-poacher usually means working in shifts of 16-18 days straight which involves walking many miles through the bush each day carrying only what they need. They sleep in the open air or inside empty reservoir tanks and cook over small fires. While basic supplies such as drinking water, sleeping bags and food are dropped off for them at various locations, they do not have regular access to showers, a mattress, or a roof.
Please find a list of items in our packing list section items you can bring to donate to the anti poaching team that we support.
All of the anti-poaching donations (including normal clothes) will be donated to Save The Waterberg Rhino.