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Black Rhinos Translocated to Akagera National Park

In a bid to enhance her safari experience, Rwanda has continuously spiced up the options that visitors can enjoy on their safaris in Rwanda.  Just this Monday 24th June 2019, the country woke up to mesmerizing news that 5 critically endangered eastern black rhinos from wildlife parks of three European countries were transferred to Rwanda’s Akagera National Park.

These were two male and three female eastern black rhinos which were released into protective enclosures (bomas) and will eventually be introduced into the Akagera open plains to increase the genetic diversity of the park’s rhino population, officials said. With only about 1,000 individuals remaining in the wild, the eastern black rhino are one of Africa’s Big Five mammals but continue to face critical danger of extinction according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

These 5 rhinos from European zoos and safari parks now bring the population of eastern black rhinos in Akagera Park to 20 after 15 other rhinos were previously delivered from South Africa in 2017. Decades ago, over 50 black rhinos once lived in Akagera national park, which is considered an excellent habitat for black rhinos, but their numbers diminished completely due to massive poaching and the last rhino was sighted in 2007.

“The newly trans located rhinos will bolster the founder group that we introduced in 2017, contributing to the reestablishment of a robust eastern black rhino population in Rwanda,” Jes Gruner, conservation area manager of Akagera Park said in a statement. “This unique achievement represents the culmination of an unprecedented international effort to improve the survival prospects of a critically endangered rhino subspecies in the wild.

Their arrival also marks an important step in Akagera’s ongoing revitalization, and one that underscores the country’s commitment to conservation.” CEO of the Rwanda Development Board, Clare Akamanzi, also remarked that the re-introduction of eastern black rhinos is “crucial to wildlife conservation and biodiversity protection efforts, both in Rwanda and across Africa.” Africa’s rhinos remain under threat of extinction due to poaching that lead to their death and meet demand for their horns in illegal markets, primarily in Vietnam and China.

Since its inclusion under the management of African Parks group, Akagera national park has restored its wildlife populations. In July 2015, Rwanda reintroduced lions to Akagera, 15 years after they had vanished. Rwanda is actively promoting tourism as part of its recovery from genocide two decades ago, in which up to 1,000,000 Tutsis were massacred.

Tourism has become one of Rwanda’s largest foreign exchange earners bringing to the country up to 1.3 million visitors, according to 2017 government statistics. Tourists come to encounter the endangered mountain gorillas in Volcanoes national park and the country is increasing the potential for tourists to spot other big game such as lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards and buffaloes, as well as magnificent bird life.

The five eastern black rhinos were brought in from the Safari Park Dvur Králové in Czech Republic, Ree Park Safari in Denmark and Flamingo Land in U.K. The rhinos began their trip from the Czech Republic on June 23rd after several months of preparation at Safari Park Dvur Králové.

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