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andBeyond wins Conservation category of 2014 We Are Africa Innovation Awards

Luxury experiential travel company andBeyond was yesterday announced as the winner in the Conservation category of the We Are Africa Innovation Awards. Held at the culmination of the We Are Africa show, hosted by South African Tourism, the inaugural awards were designed to recognise the most imaginative and innovative projects in six categories. Voted for by the key players in African travel, the awards honour the most visionary, inventive and forward-thinking companies in the travel industry.

andBeyond received top honours in the Conservation category, which rewards the most innovative project for the protection of wildlife or sustainable travel, for its ongoing initiatives to help save Africa’s rhino from the scourge of poaching. Last year, in the first ever private game reserve donation of rhino to another country, andBeyond translocated six white rhino from andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve in South Africa to Botswana’s Okavango Delta.

Rhino are being massacred at the alarming rate of one every nine hours in South Africa and, as of 30 April, a devastating 331 animals have been killed for their horns this year alone. This is compared to the 1 004 that were killed in 2013 and the 668 and 448 animals lost in 2012 and 2011 respectively.

andBeyond believes translocations are fundamental to securing the ongoing survival of endangered species and its project was aimed at increasing Africa’s dwindling rhino populations. The Okavango Delta has proven to be a successful rhino relocation habitat and Botswana has a strong security and monitoring framework in place, with the country’s military helping to protect the endangered species.

As part of the project, andBeyond provided intensive tracking and monitoring training for game scouts from Botswana. The game scouts were familiarised with the use of the satellite collars and tracking equipment intended to monitor the movement and behaviour of the rhino after their release.

After quarantine in a holding pen in Botswana, the rhino were successfully released, with one female confirmed to be pregnant. She has since given birth and all seven rhino are doing well in their new environment.

Following the success of this project, andBeyond has joined forces with industry partners to translocate up to a further hundred rhino, each of which will be tagged and microchipped. A dedicated anti-poaching team will work with Botswana government agencies to monitor the animals using the latest technology. Funds are currently being raised for the initiative and any potential donors are invited to contribute through andBeyond’s social development partner, Africa Foundation, on www.africafoundationgivengain.org.

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