Rhinos return to Rwanda since 2007
Written by: Administrator
Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017, 11:13
Black rhinos are coming back to Rwanda’s Akagera National pack from South Africa, 10 years after the last surviving animal was spotted in the park.
According to a statement from Rwanda Development Board (RDB), this is a historic move for the nation and the species. This extraordinary homecoming will take place over the first two weeks of May.
African parks, a conservation non-profit organisation managing Akagera on behalf of government, RDB and Howard G. Buffett Foundation are collaborating to translocate a founder population of up to 20 Eastern black rhinos from South Africa. The People’s Postcode Lottery and the Dutch Government are also providing additional support to the project
Back in the 1970s, more than 50 black rhinos thrived in Akagera National Park, but their numbers declined under the pressure of wide-scale poaching until the last confirmed sighting of the species in 2007. The park, which is a protected savannah habitat in Rwanda, has undergone a remarkable transformation since African Parks assumed management in 2010 in partnership with the Rwanda Development Board.
“Rhinos are one of the great symbols of Africa yet they are severely threatened and are on the decline in many places across the continent due to the extremely lucrative and illegal rhino horn trade,” said African Parks CEO Peter Fearnhead. “The rhino’s return to this country however is a testament to Rwanda’s extraordinary commitment to conservation and is another milestone in the restoration of Akagera’s natural diversity.”
With fewer than 5,000 black rhino remaining across their range in the wild, of which approximately 1,000 are the Eastern black rhino subspecies, this reintroduction is an urgent, progressive, and valuable opportunity for their conservation, and serves as a story of hope for the species.