WHAT TO DO WITH WANDERING RHINOS
You might think Botswana’s rhinos – which have travelled so far by road and air to get to the Okavango Delta – would be happy live here in peace. But in a few cases you’d be wrong.
With the rhino population in northern Botswana increasing steadily, it is to be expected that some animals will disperse, especially youngsters seeking out their own home ranges away from those of their parents.
When there are good rains, and abundant sources of water and green grass are found throughout the Delta, white rhinos start to wander. They can cover considerable distances. Map estimates that one individual travelled more than 400km in just three weeks.
These rainy season journeys are most often undertaken by sub-adult rhinos aged between four and eight years of age. The mothers of these youngsters probably have a new calf to care for by now, and don’t want their older calf hanging around, especially if it’s a male.
The sub-adult rhinos hang around their mothers’ home ranges for a while, but eventually move further afield to make their own way in the world. Young males may even be driven out by older, resident bulls.
All reports of wandering rhinos need to be investigated to identify the individuals and then carefully monitored. If the area into which the animals have wandered is not unsafe, RCB will ensure that the rhino monitoring teams in the area keep an eye on them.
Rescue and return
If there are concerns about a rhino’s safety, perhaps because it has wandered near to a border, for example, RCB may despatch a helicopter with a vet to immobilise it and bring it back to safety.
Each and every single rhino is precious and we feel a deep sense of responsibility for them, so we will always do whatever it takes to ensure their well-being, wherever they wander.
Once they have been returned to the heart of the Delta, they often settle down and become quite sedentary, especially females.