This 23,000-hectare reserve is the product of 17 dedicated landowners who dropped their fences in 2004 to create one contiguous protected area for our wildlife. The selection of the area as a potential release site for the WWF Black Rhino Range Expansion Project was a major driving factor in the establishment of Manyoni. In 2005, the newly established reserve was confirmed as a release site by the WWF and a founder population of black rhino were released into their new home.
A few years later, in 2009, the reserve was formally proclaimed by the government as a Nature Reserve under the Protected Areas Act. Since the establishment of the reserve we have seen the reintroduction of lions, making Manyoni a Big 5 Reserve, and the reintroduction of endangered cheetahs and African wild dogs. In addition to endangered species conservation, Manyoni Private Game Reserve has a strong focus on conserving biodiversity, this includes the landscapes, ecosystems and processes upon which this biodiversity depends.
Black and white rhino have both faced extinction in the past two centuries due to poaching, habitat destruction and inadequate security resources, particularly in unfenced areas. Their numbers only increased due to considerable conservation efforts and translocation programmes.
Sadly however, these majestic giants are again facing onslaught due to a dramatic increase in poaching over the last few years. This is fueled by the Asian demand for rhino horn that is falsely believed to have medicinal properties. The first peak in rhino poaching in South Africa from the start of the 21st century was in 2008 with 83 rhinos poached. 2009 saw a 46% increase with 122 and 2010 had a shocking 173% increase with 333 rhinos poached. The poaching continued to escalate in 2011 and 2012 with 448 and 668 rhinos poached respectively and from 2013 we have continued to lose over 1000 rhinos per year.