One of the most important elements of the work we do to save the rhino is wildlife research. Without conservation scientists and veterinarians making breakthrough discoveries, we would not have achieved such success in conservation.
But there is more work to be done. If you are part of an organisation or university seeking animal research opportunities, we invite you to join us at Rockwood for onsite study. Together, we can lead the way in species prosperity.
At Rockwood, you’ll have the support of rangers and willing volunteers who can assist with data capturing and infield sampling. You’ll be able to work alongside scientists and make use of our laboratory.
Witness groundbreaking discoveries in rhino conservation and be part of vital information exchange. The education received here is invaluable to both students and experts seeking expansion of their knowledge base.
You will not only get the chance to study the Southern white rhino species but also carry out behavioural, ecological, genetic, habitability and zoological research on a number of other threatened and rare species such as the giraffe.
One of our most significant conservation research collaborations is with the Hemmersbach Rhino Force Cryovault project. Led by some of the world’s top scientists, the project aims to create the largest genetic reservoir for Southern white rhinos in the world. Sperm, eggs and other genetic material of rhinos is collected, frozen and stored in a biobank for future use. These collections contribute to research in population genetics and assisted reproduction.
We are committed to learning all we can about rhinos and wildlife in general.
Our research projects include:
At Rockwood we hand rear orphaned rhino calves. But we are still trying to fully understand the properties of rhino milk to ensure our rhino babies get the nutrition they need. So, we are looking at ways to improve the health of these orphans and the species in general.
Rockwood aims to achieve healthy genetic diversity within the population of Southern white rhinos in South Africa. We do this by obtaining and studying a detailed DNA profile of each of our rhinos. After this, we can select which males and females to breed, to create a diverse and healthy gene pool.
Rockwood isn’t just home to our Southern white rhinos but also other wildlife including giraffes. One of our research projects studied the mating rituals of the giraffe. We were able to prove that when two bulls battle to mate with a fertile female, the dominant male achieves mating rights. This is known behaviour in other species but has never been described in giraffes.
- Corlia Steyn, Honors Student
“I care deeply for these animals so I want to do as much as I can with rhinos. It’s a very interesting system they have here. They have good supervision over the rhinos with the bomas and the camps. It’s about having more control.”
– Dr Francois Deacon
“Not all classrooms are between four walls. The best classroom is to take someone out of their comfort zone, get them involved and make them realise we’re busy with something important.”