Rhinos & Racehorses

A Conservation Success Story

One of the innovative ways in which Rhino Revolution seeks to protect the rhino within the Blue Canyon Conservancy has been by introducing ex-racehorses from the racing stables of Lisa Harris Racing in Harare, Zimbabwe.

These horses are being used in riding patrols to track poachers and to continually sweep the reserve for snares. It is here that Nyumbani has been able to make it’s greatest contribution by making land available within the Estate for the creation of a “Fly Camp” to house the horses and anti-poaching unit whilst on overnight forays around the Reserve.

Head Ranger, Tim Parker, heads the anti-poaching unit on the Blue Canyon Reserve and on a daily basis his rangers head deep into the bush on a mission to deter even the most ardent of poachers. “The horses offer a lot more diversity than just walking. The height advantage for tracking plays a huge factor, you can cover a lot more terrain, you can get into broken ground where vehicles can’t get to. They’re silent when you’re walking, and the big factor is that you don’t get tired because the horses are doing the work for you.”

Champion racehorse trainer Lisa Harris brought the horses to South Africa from Zimbabwe more than a year ago to help Rhino Revolution in its fight to protect rhinos in the area. Since the launch of Rhino Revolution’s mounted anti-poaching unit, not a single rhino has been lost on the reserve. In a discussion recently with Lisa Harris she highlighted that the poachers are very aware that they’re here … and they’re a little bit scared of these big horses. Racehorses have an undeserving reputation as these big fearful things and so poachers are quite nervous about encountering them.