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The reserve is surrounded by an eight foot tall barbed wire and electric fence which prevents large game from escaping, while warthogs, leopards, and other small animals may move from farm to farm.
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Large mammals shape the landscape and vegetation in Africa, and their dung provide resources for critters as small as dung beetles. The game ranch -- though far from a pristine ecosystem -- also supports vibrant populations butterflies, birds, and other wildlife.
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Giraffe, buffalo, and other large game are kept on the reserve for breeding and for trophy hunting.
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Horns are removed from white rhinos to deter poachers. A renewable resource, they grow back every two years and are being stockpiled with the hope that their sale may one day become legal.
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Mauricedale Game Ranch has more than 200 white rhinos, the largest breeding population on private land in South Africa. The ranch also has 22 endangered black rhinos.
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Timothy Mnisi, a 61-year-old tracker, was mauled by a black rhino last March, but says he is not afraid of the animals.
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In South Africa, wildlife live behind fences -- whether they surround national parks, public or private game reserves, or cattle ranches. Mauricedale Game Ranch, just south of Kruger National Park, boasts the largest breeding population of white rhinos on private land, and depending on how you see it may be either glorified zoo or a valuable chunk of wildlife habitat in an increasingly fragmented landscape.

Project

The black rhino is emblematic of how civil war and corruption in Africa decimate endangered animal populations and rob local economies of potential sources of income. Black rhinos have declined from 65,000 in 1970 to 4,000 today due to crises in Mozambique, Angola, and, now, Zimbabwe.

Recently

August 20, 2009 / Slate
Brendan Borrell
At about 5:30 in the morning, I was idling at a stoplight and squinting to read the tiny print on my map when the white chap next to me rolled down the window of his beige Land Rover. Two Europeans...
August 19, 2009 / Slate
Brendan Borrell
When we first spotted Fender through the 8-foot-tall perimeter fence, I could see she was hobbling behind her two pals, Rory and Stellar.