As part of a relocation agreement between South Africa, Namibia and Zambia, five black rhinos were flown to Zambia on Wednesday.
Black rhinos are highly endangered and four of the five animals were selected from South Africa’s flagship game reserve, the Kruger National Park.
“This translocation shows that we are definitely committed to regional conservation and are certainly not xenophobic when it comes to creating more habitat for Africa’s endangered species,” said the Kruger’s managing executive, Dr Bandile Mkhize.
According to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which has banned all international trade of rhino parts and products, there are less than 4 000 black rhinos in the wild today.
Most are found in South Africa, Namibia, Kenya and Zimbabwe.
The tri-nation agreement was reached last year between the Zambian Wildlife Authority (ZAWA), the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism and the South African National Parks (SANParks), which manages the Kruger, and Eastern Cape Parks.
In terms of the agreement, 12 desert species of black rhino (Diceros bicornis bicornis) from Namibia have been sent to South Africa.
South Africa is sending seven south-central black rhino (Diceros bicornis minor) to Zambia this year, including the five that left on Wednesday. Another five from the Eastern Cape will go to Zambia next year.
Four of the rhinos that were translocated on Wednesday come from the Kruger Park and one from Marakele National Park.
The two bulls and three cows will be settled in North Luangwa National Park in Zambia, with support from the Frankfurt Zoological Society in Germany.
“In recent times, we have transferred various species of animals to both the Limpopo National Park and the Gorongoza National Park in Mozambique.
“This shows that we are definitely committed to conservation projects in our entire region and not just South Africa,” Dr Mkhize said.
by Sharon Hammond, Nelspruit – AllAfrica.com