Caught on camera! RCB deploys intelligent cameras to protect rhinos

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Thanks to funding from the Born Free Foundation and Remembering Rhinos book campaign, this summer, RCB will install an intelligent network of state-of-the-art camera traps to keep Botswana’s rhinos even safer.

In recent years, Botswana’s wild populations of black and white rhinos have increased steadily through natural breeding and reintroductions from South Africa. The rhinos have the freedom to roam across the Okavango Delta, a vast unfenced wilderness, in search of water and food, and to establish territories. As a result, they sometimes move out of the core protected zone and into new areas that are not as secure, making close monitoring more important than ever.

As Botswana’s official rhino monitoring authority, RCB’s aerial and ground-based teams watch over all the rhinos 365 days a year. But thanks to Born Free, the introduction of a network of 50 state-of-the-art camera traps will give RCB constant surveillance of key locations in the field. These include areas where the rhinos move into the proximity of local communities and there is a risk of conflict with people, which is not good for the rhinos or the villagers.

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Thanks to Born Free, the introduction of a network of 50 state-of-the-art camera traps will give RCB constant surveillance of key locations in the field.
— Map Ives

The cameras will provide high quality images and footage that will enable RCB to identify individual rhino identification markings, such as ear notches. This will help the team to build up an accurate picture of rhino movements, territories and numbers.

The high-performance cameras will be undetectable by humans or wildlife, operating covertly, silently and without emitting any visible light, enabling them to monitor both human and rhino activity day and night, enhancing the rhinos’ security. 

They will be controlled remotely from our secure data centre, so that our Operations teams can access the data in real time and respond to any potential rhino health or security concerns immediately.

The cameras will complement our new community engagement programme in the villages surrounding the Okavango Delta. We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who supported the Remembering Rhinos book, and to Born Free for making this important investment in the future of Botswana’s rhinos.

 Botswana's rhino roam the Okavango Delta freely, their natural wanderings unlimited by artificial barriers

Botswana's rhino roam the Okavango Delta freely, their natural wanderings unlimited by artificial barriers