Unfortunately there is no government or NGO protection for these animals, and the area is regularly targeted by poachers supplying the international rhino horn trade. Save the Waterberg Rhino (STWR) was set up 2012 to enhance security in the area, for the benefit of the rhinos and the local communities. Working with the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve, private landowners and other key players, STWR is a registered Non Profit Organisation whose administration costs are covered by local rhino owners, ensuring that all funds raised go directly to projects.
STWR has contributed to security operations by providing equipment such as two-way radios, night vision camera traps, bullet-proof vests, binoculars, and license plate recognition systems. It has trained at least 70 rhino monitors, and funded training for other personnel in close combat, first aid and security planning. Support has also been given for sniffer dogs, fuel for patrols and the employment of a community liaison officer. Its activities have enhanced employment opportunities for local people in the security, conservation and tourism sectors, while its outreach programme has held open days and workshops, erected anti-poaching signs on public roads, and taken local children to see rhinos in the wild.
Tusk has supported SWRT since 2013 with a series of grants, including one to assist with the construction of the Waterberg Reaction Joint Operational Command.
The ongoing poaching crisis means that security costs will continue to rise. These costs must be met to ensure the safety of this nationally important population of white and black rhinos.