IMIRE RHINO AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION
Imire was originally started by Normal and Gilly Travers as a tobacco farm but became a wildlife conservancy in 1972 when their passion for wildlife conservation took over. In 1987, they received 7 orphaned rhinos to care for, which was the beginning of their world renowned rhino breeding program. In the next 20 years, they welcomed the births of 15 rhino calves, and have released 13 of them into national parks around Zimbabwe. Unfortunately, Imire was victim of a poaching attack killing 4 of their rhinos. Since then, they have increased their security and have continued their breeding program with the births of two more rhino calves. This threat also convinced Imire to no longer release rhinos into national parks and instead release them into a community supported second stage release site on their property. Here, the rhinos are followed at a distance by armed guards 24-hours a day and have limited interactions with humans with the hope of one day releasing them into national parks when constant security is not required. In addition to their rhino breeding program, Imire is also home to other rescues including four elephants, a herd of cape buffalo, a lion, two hyenas, a crocodile, as well as a wide variety of plains game and 152 species of birds.
When choosing to visit Imire, there are multiple options depending on your preference. The most popular option tends to be volunteering in their hands-on rhino and elephant conservation program. These animals are free roaming during the day but are kept in bomas at night, with proper lighting and armed guard supervision to protect them from poachers. As a volunteer you will be required to assist with anti-poaching procedures, snare sweeps, behavioural monitoring of the rhinos and elephants, research projects, cleaning of the bomas, and feeding animals their supplemental diet. Additionally, Imire is heavily involved in the local community, in particular, the local school. Volunteers assist with various classes, and gardening projects at the schools, and help educate the students on the importance of conservation and wildlife. With so much to offer, volunteering at Imire is a rewarding and life changing experience. On the other hand, if volunteering isn’t your style, Imire has a beautiful lodge which offers game drives in the park, visits with the elephants and rhinos, incredible lookout points, and gourmet three course dinners. Imire also offers a self catering bush camp, available for private rentals or school groups.
Imire is located 2 hours from Zimbabwe’s capital city of Harare, in the Mashonaland east district. It is still a family run reserve headed by the Travers’ who are guaranteed to make you feel like part of the family during your visit!