Rwanda: Thirty White Rhinos Moved to Rwanda in Largest Translocation

29 November 2021

Thirty white rhinos have been released into the wilderness of Akagera National Park in Eastern Province, in a move that seeks to create a secure new breeding stronghold for the species in Rwanda.

The group that consists of 19 females and 11 males aged between four years and 27 years was secured from &Beyond Phinda, a private game reserve in South Africa.

The development also comes after a collaboration between the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), African Parks and &Beyond, with funding provided by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.

"This is an opportunity for Rwanda to substantially advance its contribution to rhino conservation, with Akagera poised to become a globally important sanctuary for black and now white rhinoceros," said Ariella Kageruka, RDB Acting Chief Tourism Officer.

African Parks are the country managers of Akagera National Park.

Kageruka said that it also a timely conservation of the threatened species. Experts estimate that more two white rhinos are poached in some of their strongholds, leading to a worrying trajectory.

The group translocated to Rwanda is no exception, but Kageruka reassured that they will soon adapt to the country's landscape, and also monitored daily.

"The rhinos will be monitored daily in Akagera by a dedicated team and a specialist veterinarian who will be overseeing their acclimation," she added.

Introductions to safe, intact wild landscapes are vital for the future of vulnerable species like white rhino, which are under considerable human-induced pressures," African Parks' CEO Peter Fearnhead noted.

"We're grateful to our partners for making this historic translocation possible - the Rwandan Government for their forward-thinking conservation leadership, and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and &Beyond for their integral support," he pointed out.

White rhinos are classified as near threatened with numbers declining across existing strongholds, largely due to poaching driven by demand for their horns.

The introduction of southern white rhinos to Akagera expands their range to offer more safe area for the species.

"We have meticulously managed and grown the rhino population at Phinda over 30 years," says Simon Naylor.

Naylor said that the species have been fitted with a transmitter to enable constant monitoring by dedicated tracking teams, a canine anti-poaching unit and helicopter surveillance, to among others support long-term protection.

"Our Foundation is pleased to continue to invest in Akagera's remarkable transformation into a critical national park for Rwanda and an example of responsible conservation for the African continent and the world," Howard G. Buffett, said in a statement.

"While our funding is an important contributor to that success story, none of this would be possible without the leadership of the Government of Rwanda and the dedicated efforts of African Parks," Buffet added.

Buffet pointed out that it was "deeply" personal for him to support the first black rhino reintroduction to Akagera in 2019, citing that it carried more weight having an opportunity to support another translocation.

"Akagera is now positioned to become a key rhino stronghold for the continent, demonstrating what is possible in conservation when public and private partners collaborate," Buffet asserted.

The translocation brings the total number of Rhinos in Rwanda to 56.

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