Six black rhino from the Addo Elephant National Park in the Eastern Cape are expected to arrive in Chad on Friday as part of an agreement in biodiversity and conservation with South Africa.
Minister of Environmental Affairs Dr Edna Molewa witnessed the loading and departure of the six black rhino on an Antonov cargo aeroplane on Thursday as part of an initiative to reintroduce rhino into Chad.
"By establishing a viable and secure rhino population in Chad, we are contributing to the expansion of the rhino population in Africa and the survival of a species that has faced high levels of poaching for the past decade," Molewa said.
"In line with our long-term strategy, South Africa intends to increase numbers of wildlife across Africa by relocating groups of rhino and other animals to new protected areas."
The signing of the custodianship agreement for the rhino marked another step towards a pledge between former president Jacob Zuma and Chadian president Idriss Deby in 2013.
The memorandum of understanding on the reintroduction of black rhino in Chad seeks to re-establish a rhino population in the Central African country as part of a broader biodiversity initiative with South Africa.
South African National Parks (SANParks) has already translocated black rhino to Botswana, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi and Rwanda. White rhino have been moved to Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Mozambique. Rhino have also been translocated to Kenya and Swaziland.
"We are all too aware that the translocation of these animals is taking place against a tragic backdrop, as poaching and the illicit wildlife trade continues to wreak havoc on Africa's biological assets," Molewa said.
"Translocation is but one of the interventions being implemented by South Africa as part of the Integrated Strategic Management of Rhinoceros Approach.
"Our approach includes compulsory interventions, interventions to increase rhino numbers, long-term sustainability interventions and game-changing interventions."
Molewa said the translocation heralded "a new beginning" for South Africa and SANParks in the conservation of rhino and other species on the continent.