Nhongo Safaris has been very lucky to have forged a long lasting relationship with Care For Wild, Petronel Nieuwoudt and mark Cherry. Founded in 2001, Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary is the largest orphan rhino orphanage and sanctuary in the world. Nhongo Safaris is the preferred Safari Operator on the property, with all safaris to “Care For Wild” going through them. Nhongo Safaris guides have been specifically trained in what goes on at Care For Wild, and are there to give a large amount of information to visiting guests that go to Care For Wild on one of Nhongo Safaris many Rhino Care Safaris that we offer.
Our vision is to secure free-ranging African Rhinoceros in protected sanctuaries across Africa, to ensure the survival of the species for future generations.
Baby rhinos that are orphaned in the wild rarely survive. The mission of Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary is to rescue every rhino that is orphaned, to heal them and to provide a totally secure environment where they can grow, roam free, and breed to ensure that there will always be rhinos in Africa.
The Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary NPC was founded by Petronel Nieuwoudt (PN) 15 years ago in the Limpopo province, with the goal of providing care and rehabilitation to a wide range of animals. Due to the limited level of poaching at the time, only a few rhinos were treated at the centre. In 2011 the centre was moved to Barberton, Mpumalanga, where Mark Cherry joined her in the help to establish “Care For Wild” and take it into a new era. Care For Wild was then situated on a leased property as a temporary measure until a more suitable property was available for purchase. Subsequent to moving to its new property, there was a drastic increase in the number of rhino poaching incidents in the surrounding areas, and an ensuing need to care and rehabilitate for the injured and/or orphaned rhinos, whose mothers were killed during such incidents, became apparent.
Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary NPC is developing the existing rehabilitation centre and additional land into a secure stronghold which will eventually accommodate 100 black and white rhinos in a viable secure breeding population. Ultimately, it is the goal of the sanctuary to aid in the process of re-maximizing the rhino population with the intention of preserving the species for future generations.
Despite intense counter poaching efforts, rhinos continue to be poached at unprecedented levels throughout South Africa. Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary NPC is developing a concise strategy to ensure the safety and security of the rhinos under the centres care, and is committed to maintaining the highest level of protection. Such security measures will include (but are not limited to) 24/7 monitoring of individual animal groups, highly trained armed game scouts, mobile response units, communications network, crime intelligence, intense surveillance and live video monitoring, trained counter poaching dogs and their respective handlers, watchtowers, electrified fencing, and aerial support.
Rhino horn cannot be legally sold on the international market. The international trade in rhino horn was banned in 1976 by signatories to the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Unfortunately, a flourishing black market trade has led to widespread rhino poaching.
“These baby rhinos are at an orphanage because their mothers were killed by poachers. I can’t say where this is for obvious reasons. But I spent an afternoon with Petronel Nieuwoudt, who runs the orphanage. The youngest rhino was called Don. He was just two months old when he was found in Kruger National Park. Petronel has students and volunteers from all over the world come to look after these orphans. They pay for this experience and that money is used for milk, food, fencing and rangers for security.” – Prince Harry
The Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary forms part of the 28 000 ha Barberton Nature Reserve complex, and aims to grow the reserve to 85 000 ha. The reserve together with surrounding areas has been placed on UNESCO’s tentative list and will be South Africa’s next World Heritage Site. This validates the area as having outstanding universal value for all humanity. The Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains contain the best-preserved, oldest and most diverse sequence of known volcanic and sedimentary rocks on Earth. These well researched outcrops provide a globally unique source of information about the earliest measurable conditions of the Earth’s gradually solidifying oceanic crust, from 3.5 billion years ago. From these rocks, more has been learned than from anywhere else about the surface processes at work as the Earth cooled from a molten body, to the creation of the primitive biosphere. This is the field repository for the genesis of life.
Flowing from the richness in geology and soil minerals, the reserve provides for an extremely rich flora. It is located within the Barberton Centre of plant Endemism, with some 80 endemic species identified to date.
The reserve is part of the area which harbours the second highest known plant species diversity in Southern Africa. The biodiversity value of the reserve, and immediately adjacent areas, is ranked very highly in the provincial Biodiversity Conservation Plan with the majority of areas being scored Irreplaceable, Highly Significant or Important & Necessary.
Virtually the entire reserve was also placed on the “National list of ecosystems that are threatened and in need of protection” in Government Gazette No. 34809 on 9 December 2011, issued in terms of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (Act 10 of 2004). This includes the Noordkaap Greenstone Bushveld, and Legogote Sour Bushveld ecosystems which form the majority of the reserve.
Also significant is the fact that part of the reserve is regarded as the most important refugium in Mpumalanga province in terms of climate change response of certain threatened plant species. The extent of the regional refugium identified in the Barberton mountains appears to be small, but a significant proportion of species expressed as a percentage of modelled species richness, could be lost for this region, making this an important regional refugium. Modelling has shown that the Barberton Mountains region to have the highest number of conservation important plant species showing decline between 31 % and 47 % of the species on an area of 210 square km.