5 May 2018

South Africa: 6 Black Rhino From SA Arrive Safely in Chad

Six South African black rhinos have safely arrived in Chad, the Department of Environmental Affairs said on Friday.

The flight transporting the rhinos, as well as South African National Parks and African Parks veterinarians, arrived in the Zakouma National Park in Chad shortly before 11:00 on Friday.

The rhinos had been transported on Thursday from the Addo Elephant National Park, where they were held in bomas for three months.

Their arrival marked the first time in 46 years that black rhinos will roam the central African country.

The last black rhino (Diceros bicornis longipes) in Chad was noted in Zakouma in 1972, with the species officially being declared extinct in 2006.

The department said there were no challenges encountered during the translocation of the rhinos which was "carried out under the watchful eye of the South African National Parks veterinarians".

Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa expressed joy at the rhino's safe arrival in Chad.

"I am delighted that South Africa's conservation success is able to contribute to the return of such an iconic species to a sister country. My fervent hope is that these rhino will serve as a catalyst for economic growth, particularly in the conservation and tourism fields, in Chad," Molewa said in a statement.

Molewa and Chad minister of environment and fisheries Ahmat Mbodou Mahamat, had on October 8, 2017, signed a memorandum of understanding in the field of Biodiversity Conservation and Management in Pretoria.

They had also signed a memorandum of understanding which allows for the translocation of black rhino from South Africa to Chad as part of an initiative to reintroduce rhino to the African country, the department said.

Welcoming the rhinos to the Zakouma National Park, South Africa's ambassador to Chad, Titus Matlakeng said he was delighted that South Africa's conservation success, particularly in saving the black Rhino from extinction enabled "this contribution that marked the historic return of this iconic species to the Republic of Chad".

"My fervent hope is that this reintroduction will contribute to the strengthening of conservation and tourism sectors that are critical in advancing economic growth, social cohesion, and rural development in both countries," he said.

Chad had earlier signed an agreement with African Parks Network (APN) which allows APN to manage the country's national parks.

Rhino have previously been translocated from South Africa to Namibia, Botswana, Rwanda and Tanzania.

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