PWT Supported Projects

Rhino Protection Project

The overall protection of the rhinos remains an in the field situation. The Park has through donations from the PWT and other sources been able to equip and train field rangers, as well as now having a dedicated K9 unit.

The park has to remain one step ahead of the poachers, however, so the purchase of specialised equipment will always be needed as well as continually training new field rangers and giving refresher courses and new skills to old hands.

Fund raising for specifically protecting rhinos is an ongoing project that the trust has been involved with for the past two years and will continue into the future.

There are various ways to assist the PWT in raising funds for this project and we urge you to please contact the PWT to find out how!

When making a donation towards the rhinos please state so on your payment reference!

Ten good reasons to save rhinos:

At the turn of the 19th century, there were approximately one million rhinos. In 1970, there were around 70,000. Today, there are fewer than 24,500 rhinos surviving in the wild.

Three of the five species of rhino are “Critically Endangered” as defined by the IUCN (World Conservation Union). A taxon is classified as critically endangered when the best available evidence indicates that it meets any of a range of pre-determined criteria. It is therefore considered to be facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild. The southern subspecies of the white rhino is classified by the IUCN in the lesser category of being “Near Threatened”; and the Indian rhino is classified as “Vulnerable”even this is considered to be facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.
In 2005, some of us are lucky enough to be able to travel to Africa and Asia to see them in the wild. In 2035, when our children and grandchildren have grown up, will they still be able to see wild rhinos?

Rhinos have been an important part of a wide range of ecosystems for millions of years; we must not let them join the dodo in extinction.
Poachers kill rhinos for the price they can get for the horns (used for traditional Chinese medicine and for ornamental dagger handles in Yemen); land encroachment, illegal logging and pollution are destroying their habitat; and political conflicts adversely affect conservation programmes.
When protecting and managing a rhino population, rangers and scientists take in account all the other species interacting with rhinos and those sharing the same habitat. When rhinos are protected, many other species are too; not only mammals but also birds, reptiles, fish and insects as well as plants.
By focusing on a well-known animal such as a rhino (or, to use the jargon, a charismatic mega-herbivore), we can raise more money and consequently support more conservation programmes benefiting animal and plant species sharing their habitat.
Rhinos are the second-biggest living land mammals after the elephants. Together with lion, giraffe, chimpanzee and polar bear, the rhino is one of the most popular species with zoo visitors. In the wild, rhinos attract tourists who bring money to national parks and local communities. They are one of the “Big Five”, along with lion, leopard, elephant and buffalo.
Protecting and managing a rhino population is a real challenge that costs energy and money. Rhino-range countries need our financial support, and benefit from shared expertise and exchange of ideas.
We know that conservation efforts save species. The Southern white rhino would not exist today if it were not for the work of a few determined people, who brought together the 200 or so individuals surviving, for a managed breeding and re-introduction programme. Today, there are some 17,500 Southern white rhinos.

With more money, we can support more programmes, and not just save rhino populations, but increase numbers and develop populations. The Northern white rhino subspecies may just have become extinct, but it is not too late to save the rest.

Not just that, but how many people know that rhinos also live in Asia? Or that two species have just one horn? Or that the horn is not used as an aphrodisiac? We have even heard some people say that they are carnivores!

If people do not know about these amazing animals and the problems they are facing, how can we expect them to want to do something to help save rhinos?

You can help us raise awareness of the plight of the rhino! The more we do all together, the more people will learn about rhinos and the more field projects we will be able to support. There are lots of fundraising ideas scattered in the ‘Support us’ section, as well as ways to donate directly to Save the Rhino. And there are rhino-themed games and puzzles in the ‘Rhino info’ section!

Rhino Status and Pilanesberg Wildlife Involvement

Prior to 2008 poaching of rhino was still present but on a much smaller scale. Since 2008 to date the numbers have escalated to proportions whereby the the new births of rhino per annum will soon be less than the numbers of rhinos poached if drastic measures are not put into place.

This is the beginning of the road to extinction.

These precious animals, who are so trusting and innocent are relying on us, those caring humans to protect them from this onslaught.

Rhino protection has become the PWT’s primary conservation project in Pilanesberg until we can stop this awful situation.

Rhino Identification and DNA collection Project

At present the focus is on creating a database of information on each rhino within the Park. To increase our knowledge of rhinos, the park uses a technique of “notching” where a specific pattern is cut into the ears which enables ground monitors to individually identify that animal, who it is with, where it stays and other biological data such as birth intervals.

At the same time DNA is collected as part of the National Rhino Project that analyses and stores this data that can be used as evidence in the case of rhino poaching.

Brown Hyena Project

Project Phiri is based in the Northwest Province of South Africa. The research started with pilot work in Pilanesberg National Park in 2003 and is supported by The Earthwatch Institute.

The Hyena Specialist Group has two major goals: 1) to promote the conservation of hyenas worldwide through integrated research, and 2) through education, to change people’s attitudes towards these much maligned and often unnecessarily persecuted animals.

Central to these objectives has been the work carried out in Pilanesberg National Park.

Cheetah Project

PWT to assist in purchasing a female Cheetah

The PWT was approached to assist in financing the purchase of a female Cheetah for the Pilanesberg Nation Park.

There are no known female Cheetah in Pilanesberg at present. Three male Cheetah have been spotted, though from time to time.

The PWT has approved the project but the Park is waiting for the seller to advise the next step!

We are very excited and really hope that this purchase goes through soon!

Community Development

Core Function

One of the core functions of the Pilanesberg Wildlife Trust is to promote the upliftment of the communities in the related fields of Nature Conservation and Tourism on the periphery of the Pilanesberg National Park.

Projects that the PWT takes on are identified by the Community Development Officer of the North West Parks & Tourism Board.

The Trust steps in to assist where funds are not available or not enough to meet the needs of the projects identified.

Many of the communities surrounding Pilanesberg have been defined by poverty, and a lack of opportunity to improve their standard of living.

Community development seeks to empower groups of people and individuals by providing them with the skills and tools they need to effect change in their own communities.

Environmental Education

The continued enjoyment and associated custodianship of the Pilanesberg National Park is a matter that the trust holds dear to.

This can only be achieved by creating a feeling of ownership and pride of the Park within the local community, including the young children, to the wonders big and small that abound within this haven.

The Trust, in conjunction with the concessionaires in the Park, participates with local wildlife clubs by taking them into the Park to explore the fascinating world of wildlife that exists literally on their doorstep.

Talks and presentations are given to visiting school groups and special interest parties to instil the profound importance of the interdependence of man and the few wild places that still exist today.

Projects of the PWT

The PWT will list the projects undertaken on this website as they come on board.

Key areas of focus are:

  • Environment
  • Education
  • Youth Development
  • Sustainable Economic Development

Project 1:

Two local students in the field of conservation will be identified and a bursary issued to each for up to 3 years study at a recognised Institute like the Tshwane University of Technology for example.

Elephant Project

Elephant Population

A visit to the Pilanesberg is a memorable experience, especially if one gets to see our wonderful elephants. Although we occasionally have the odd naughty boy, overall these elephants are well behaved and provide great sightings, in particular the breeding herds with their fun loving babies, or the bulls playing in the water and mud.

Whilst it is great to see these majestic animals, they unfortunately can eventually have a negative impact on the park as their numbers grow beyond the ability of the land to support them. This in turn affects other animals and the overall biodiversity of the Park and its landscapes.

The lethal removal of elephants through culling is a situation that the Park would like to avoid if at all possible and, with the advances in contraception, the Park is looking at this option to stabilise the Pilanesberg elephant population.

This is unfortunately quite an expensive operation as a helicopter is needed to administor the vaccine, and must be done every year for it to be effective in bringing down the growth rate.

The PWT will be supporting this project in the interests of the elephants, and the home they call Pilanesberg.

If you would like to make a donation towards this project please state that your donation is for the “Elephant Project”.

Lion Project

When animals are fenced, and especially in the case of predators where there is not an abundance of them, it is important to manage their numbers and genetics.

The predators in the Park are monitored and information is kept on which Lions are mating with which Lionesses. If not managed the males could breed with their offspring.

Therefore, Park Management will make decision, a call depending on the info, as to whether they need new blood and if so, which Lions should move to a new home. In order to keep the predator / prey base in balance it is essential that this is managed correctly.

Wild Dog Project

Wild dogs were reintroduced into Pilanesberg in 1998 and have been successful in their breeding and survival ever since. Wild dogs are a highly mobile species and can cover great distances in a short time.

Their movements over the years has shown a distinct pattern of remaining close to the fence line boundary of the park, which can be associated with prey capture (the dogs have “learnt” to use the fence as an effective tool in catching their prey) and possibly in avoiding lions which will kill wild dogs if they get the opportunity.

Monitoring the movements of the current Pilanesberg pack of eleven wild dogs relies on the technology of a satellite collar to track them on a daily basis. At the moment the pack is in need of renewing of their collars. The PWT will assist in funding this project in 2013. The cost for this collar (fitting & service fees) is R 25,000

Regular updates will be published on the PWT website of where the dogs are and other interesting activities that the dogs have been up to!

If you would like to contribute to this project, please contact us. If you make a direct payment please state that your donation is for the “Wild Dog Project”

Please Support our Projects

PWT needs your support for additional funding our ongoing projects – for the betterment of the Park for all its visitors, including you!

You can deposit money into the Trust’s account and advise us what project you would like to see your donation money put towards.

Please send the confirmation of your donation and your contact details to:

Fax: 086 514 3131 or email:

We will acknowledge all donors on our website. The progress of the projects wil be published to the website, so that you will know how well your money has been spent!

Become part of us – your bush family!

Ongoing Projects

  • Community Development
  • Elephant Population
  • Rhino Protection / Anti Poaching
  • Wild Dog Monitoring

Banking Details

Pilanesberg Wildlife Trust
FNB, cheque account
Branch: 250041 – Mogwase
Account: 62031121255

Paypal Donations