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The Southern White Rhino has been to the Brink of Extinction and Back

Today, most of these rhinos can trace their ancestry back to the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park (HiP) in KwaZulu-Nata, South Africa. In the late 19th century, the southern white rhino was on the brink of extinction due to game hunting. Unfortunately, a new threat emerged just under a decade ago, when poachers began targeting the rhinos for their horns. As a result, the 96,000-hectare park, the oldest proclaimed wildlife reserve in Africa, has found itself battling to protect the rhinos once again. While the rangers here have long been trained to deal with bush meat hunters brandishing assegais (spears) and bush knives, poachers armed with guns was relatively new territory for them. In order to tackle the organized criminal gangs, HiP was transformed into South Africa’s first “Smart Park.” Integrated surveillance technology, including smart fencing, has been installed in the grounds of the reserve, along with camera traps to call attention to intruders.