How EPOL is Contributing to Conservation Through Horse Feed
As leaders in the game and the horse feed industries, EPOL is proud to offer ongoing support to two conservation initiatives through our relationship with uBhejaneX. They set out to contribute to rhino conservation and community-based operations through their support of Project Rhino and the Zululand Rhino Orphanage (ZRO) with feed, ensuring well-nourished, strong rhinos raise up the population.
uBhejaneX is a registered non-profit organisation that was started in 2015 by a group of passionate mountain bike riders who wanted to raise funds through cycling. Their project has equipped two game reserves (Hluhluwe-Imfolozi and Spioenkop) in KZN with horse units, which enable mounted rangers to patrol off-road and at a higher vantage point. Horses are quiet and do not alert the poachers, they also extend the daily patrol range from 10 km on foot to 30 km on horseback. In addition, rangers are far less fatigued when contact with poachers is made and response time is much shorter – a vital aspect in the fight against poaching as every second counts. The measures taken by having a horseback patrol reduces the likelihood of a rhino becoming a statistic.
With conservation projects relying heavily on donations and partnerships like this one, it can become difficult for organisations to get all of their needs met to do what they do best. Partnering with uBhejaneX was a natural step for EPOL, considering our specialist insight and we feel honoured knowing that our expertise contributes to a healthy rhino population via Project Rhino.
We support Project Rhino by donating EPOL Horse feed to ensure the 19 horses that patrol the two reserves are kept in peak physical condition to perform their crucial role.
Our support for the rhino conservation movement doesn’t stop there.
Zululand Rhino Orphanage (ZRO) was established in 2017 as a result of a security breach at a regional rhino orphanage. After the incident it was decided that the orphans needed to be moved to a new safe location. The ZRO provides a safe facility for injured and orphaned rhino calves. Rhino calves drink milk for up to 18 months and stay with their mothers until they are about two to three years old. The ZRO is equipped to care and nourish for the orphans until they are mature enough to care for themselves.
A rhino’s digestive system and nutritional requirements are very similar to those of horses and a foal milk formulation is used for the young rhinos. The mission of the ZRO is to give rhino orphans a safe place to grow until they are of an age and ready to be released back into the wild. When the calves are very young, people spend a lot of time with them, until they are comfortable to move across and join the other rhino orphans. This enables them to learn from each other and to form important social bonds.
The ZRO has successfully released four white rhinos and one black rhino back into the wild.
EPOL joined forces with uBhejaneX to support the ZRO and contribute, in a different way, to the wellbeing of South Africa’s Rhinos. Anina Hunter, Feeds Director at EPOL said: “We support this noble cause through continued nutritional contribution, helping to rehabilitate these orphans to their natural habitat.”
It takes effort in many directions to conserve our beautiful species of rhino, and it’s no easy feat for organisations to reach. EPOL is proud and honoured to have a hand in such admirable conservation work, and we’re excited to see our rhinos flourish.