The rhinos, consisting of 19 females and 11 males aged between four years and 27 years were translocated from South Africa’s Phinda Private Game Reserve to the new home in Akagera National Park in eastern Rwanda as part of a program to replenish the species’ population
The rhinos, consisting of 19 females and 11 males aged between four years and 27 years were translocated from South Africa’s Phinda Private Game Reserve to the new home in Akagera National Park in eastern Rwanda as part of a program to replenish the species’ population, decimated by poaching since the 1970s. The translocation was carried out through collaboration between the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), African Parks with funding from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.
Rwanda Development Board, which manages the Akagera National Park along with African parks termed the relocation as a historical milestone.
Happening now: Press conference on the introduction of 30 wild White Rhinos to @AkageraPark The translocation of the Rhinos from &Beyond Phinda Game Reserve in South Africa has been made possible through the collaboration of different partners including the Howard G. Buffett Fndn pic.twitter.com/36LnbgLa2H— Rwanda Development Board (@RDBrwanda) November 29, 2021
White rhinos are classified as endangered with numbers declining across their natural habitats, largely due to poaching driven by demand for their horns. The southern white rhino, one of two subspecies of white rhino, is critically endangered with about 20,000 individuals remaining. The Northern white rhino, the other subspecies, has all but vanished, with only two females left alive.
African Parks’ CEO Peter Fearnhead said:
Introductions to safe, intact wild landscapes are vital for the future of vulnerable species like the white rhino, which are under considerable human-induced pressures.
Jes Gruner, Park Manager of Akagera national park said that the rhinos were slightly sedated to keep them calm and not aggressive during the journey.
The rhinos weren’t sedated on the plane in the sense they were totally lying down, as that’s bad for their sternums. But they were partly drugged, so they could still stand up and keep their bodily functions normal, but enough to keep them calm and stable.
The introduction of white rhinos to Akagera follows the reintroduction of lions in 2015 and 18 eastern black rhinos in 2017.
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