Tswalu, South Africa’s largest private game reserve, is introducing a conservation experience focusing on generic data collection of endangered rhino populations of the Southern Kalahari ecosystem. From April to September, travelers are invited to join the rhino-notching initiative to analyze and support the genetic integrity of the protected rhino populations across South Africa after suffering a tragic decline over recent years.
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Trained trackers and veterinarians will set out across the Kalahari to dart young rhinos, ideally between 2 and 3 years old. After marking and associating the rhino with a recorded number, the team plants a small microchip under the skin and horns for future identity and security purposes. DNA samples are then collected and later added into a global DNA database that helps track and prevent illegally traded rhino horns.
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During this encounter, travelers form part of the ground crew and are invited to take part in the microchipping experience that includes helping to monitor the rhinos body temperature and breathing. The private rhino-notching experience is priced at $7,265 for 2022 and 2023 and covers the costs of a wildlife veterinarian, the specialized drugs in the darts and flying expenses.
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