25 September 2018

Chad: Black Rhino Making a Comeback in Chad Thanks to Relocation From SA

The black rhino may be making a comeback in Chad after nearly 50 years, thanks to a relocation programme involving South African rhino.

Six black rhino are adapting well in the Zakouma National Park after being flown to Chad in May 2018, said conservation organisation African Parks.

The relocation was not an instant solution to the extinction of rhino in Chad.

"We've worked in concert with the Chadian government and local communities for eight years to prepare Zakouma for the return of these extraordinary mammals," said Zakouma's park manager Leon Lamprecht.

According to conservation organisation the World Wide Fund for Nature, the black rhino is extinct in the wild. There are currently about 2 500 individuals, from about 100 000 at the beginning of the 20th century.

Poaching

The black rhino (Diceros bicornis) was listed on the Cites (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) Appendix 1 in 1977.

This listing means it is among the most endangered Cites-listed animals and plants and is threatened with extinction.

Before this relocation programme, the last Western black rhino in Chad was recorded in the 1970s, said African Parks.

SANParks, African Parks and the South African government collaborated with Zakouma and the Chadian government to reintroduce the rhino into the ecosystem.

But because of poaching fears, the rhino are all dehorned, fitted with a tracking device and have dedicated surveillance teams.

"While most news about rhinos is about their demise, here we are seeing how a collaboration, political action, and funding can help create a successful founding group that can grow into a viable central African rhino population," said Lamprecht.

The introduction of rhino in Zakouma also gives the park a new lease on life after its elephant population was devastated between 2002 and 2010. Numbers declined by 90% during this period.

Security

Under the new management of African Parks, Zakouma hopes the rhino will spur tourism and has seen some success as elephant numbers increased for the first time.

The park highlighted its "intensive" security measures to protect the rhino.

"The rhinos are being tracked constantly by a dedicated ranger unit that has received advanced training, which is supplemented by the well-equipped law enforcement team, aerial surveillance and numerous other security systems."

There are plans to expand the rhino population in Zakouma National Park in 2019.

Source: News24

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