As the world confronts the prospect of losing these iconic animals, we talk to Chessington Zoo about their role in the fight for the rhino’s revival.
Why is the work carried out by Dambari so important to the rhino population?
As rhinos are hugely at risk from the poaching crisis in Zimbabwe, the Dambari Wildlife Trust was set up ten years ago and supports and monitors the white rhino population in Matobos National Park and the black rhino population in Sinamatella in Hwange National Park. Darnbari monitor the rhino population with patrols and camera traps, and identify each rhino in the National Park. Any missing rhinos are searched for in case they have been poached, arid where necessary anti-poaching patrol routes are changed, increased security added or broken fence trips fixed. On my visit in October 2016, the rhinos were being dehorned to discourage the poachers
How did the opportunity for a partnership arise between Chessington Zoo and Dambari?
It was a worthwhile cause that Chessington World of Adventures Resort wanted to support in conjunction with us housing rhinos here. It was a great way for us to educate visitors on the plight of these animals in the wild.
What is being done at Chessington to aid their work in Zimbabwe?
We raise money within the park for our very own conservation fund (the Chessington Conservation Fund), which supports Dambari, as well as other conservation charities. Money is raised in various ways, from a percentage of our car parking fee going towards the fund or staff members doing sponsored activities such as parachute jumps. We even have a whole evening event dedicated to the fund each year called Roar & Explore. Thus money is then used to purchase anti-poaching and rhino monitoring equipment such as a land rover, binoculars and rhino identification cards, as well as supporting education programmes within Zimbabwe.