AFRICA ON THE RISE Travel

Rwanda Receives Back 5 Endangered Rhinos from Europe

The five endangered species of rhinos arrived in Kigali Rwanda after a 30 hours flight of 6,000km from Prague. On arrival, they were transported to Akagera National Park by a truck. The eastern black rhinos have been at the Dvur Klarove Park in the Czech Republic since late last year but plans to bring them to Rwanda have been underway for several years. While here, they have been getting preparations to finally get relocated to Kigali, Rwanda.

The almost extinct rhinos will first get nurtured in a zoo, commonly called “boma” before they are released to the wild to graze on the Akagera bushes. This will be after confirmation from vets and wildlife experts at the nearby camps, that the rhinos are settled for survival in the wild surrounding. With just 1,000 black rhinos remaining on earth, the idea of relocating them from Europe is of great significance, so that they are able to reproduce. This is the second time Rwanda receives rhinos since 2017, other rhinos were relocated from South Africa to Rwanda. The 17 rhinos were despatched back to Rwanda after becoming extinct for 10 years as a result of poaching activities. However, the mission was not accomplished after a tragedy hit a conservationist, Krizstian Gyongyi, who was taking care of the rhinos. One of the animals killed him. Hence, the success of the project wouldn’t be realised by then. In efforts to add more rhinos to the group to curb extinction, the animals are expected to reproduce in their natural habitat at the Akagera National Park.No wonder the idea of relocating them back to their homeland was invented.

“These animals were taken from Africa decades ago to display to the public in the European zoo, and now have a real conservation role in Rwanda,” says Mark Pilgrim, Chester Zoo’s chief executive. The five eastern black rhinos namely Mandela (from Flamingo Land, Yorkshire, in the UK), Olmoti ( Ree Safari park in Denmark), Jasmina, Jasiri, and Manny from Dvur Klarove. The three females and two male rhinos aged between two and nine years were all translocated from Dvur Klarove in the Czech Republic but ideally, they are from Denmark, the UK, and the Czech Republic.

“The translocation of 5 rhinos from the European zoos to Rwanda will further enhance the natural ecosystem in Akagera National Park. Today poaching is almost non-existent to our four national parks, and we are confident that these rhinos will thrive in their natural habitat. They are a positive addition to Akagera, a park where tourists can now visit to see the African Big Five,” said Clare Akamanzi, CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB).

The recovery of the eastern black rhinos is expected to rake in tourism revenue to the Rwandan government. The hopes are high since Rwanda received 1.3 million visitors in 2017. Similarly, Kigali is on a global map after it appeared as one of the best towns in Africa in 2018, after the Cape Town of South Africa. When these rhinos together with the 15 lions that were brought back to Rwanda from South Africa after 15 years of extinction come into the picture, tourism is going places.

The reason why the rhinos were taken to Akagera National Park, is the security and the high tech poaching solutions that are in place. This makes them safe in Rwanda with zero risks of poaching. Akagera National Park has armed security force and is well managed by the conservation organization, African Parks, as well as the Rwandan government. It is, therefore, a safe haven for the eastern black rhinos that are on the mission of breeding, commonly dubbed as “rhinos dating game” by its pioneers.

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