Rwanda welcomes 30 White Rhinos to Akagera NP
In the largest single rhino translocation ever undertaken, 30 white rhinos have been introduced to Akagera National Park in Rwanda this week. The rhinos were translocated from andBeyond Phinda through a collaboration between the Rwanda Development Board, African Parks and andBeyond, with funding provided by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.
This historic initiative aims to extend the white rhino range and create a secure new breeding stronghold in Rwanda, supporting population growth to ensure the long-term survival of the species in the wild as high-levels of poaching continue to exert unsustainable pressure on current populations.
The translocation will also help to enhance Akagera’s contribution to Rwanda’s wildlife economy, ensuring that the conservation of their outstanding natural landscapes generates long-term benefits for local communities and all Rwandans. RDB Acting Chief Tourism Officer, Ariella Kageruka, welcomed the 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.
“This is timely for the conservation of these incredibly threatened species. We’re extremely proud of our conservation partnerships and our national parks, which are playing a pivotal role in meeting biodiversity targets and in driving sustainable, transformative, equitable socio-economic growth,” Ariella Kageruka said.
The 30 rhinos were flown into Rwanda from South Africa and transported to Akagera National Park on a 3,400-kilometre journey, making it the largest single rhino translocation in history. The rhinos will be monitored daily in Akagera by a dedicated team and a specialist veterinarian who will be overseeing their acclimation.
African Parks’ CEO Peter Fearnhead said the introductions to safe, intact wild landscapes are vital for the future of vulnerable species like the white rhino, which are under considerable human-induced pressures.
“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 andBeyond for their integral support. Successes in parks like Akagera in Rwanda and Phinda in South Africa demonstrate how preventing the decline of nature propels prosperity and development.”frican Parks’ CEO Peter Fearnhead
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 a more safe area for the species. The successful conservation management of Phinda in South Africa makes the reserve a valuable source for important new rhino subpopulations.
In 2019, five Eastern Black Rhinoceroses were translocated from Europe to Akagera National Park in Rwanda where they were released into their new and wild home at Akagera National Park. The unique collaboration between the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), the Government of Rwanda and conservation NGO African Parks, allowed the rhinos, who were born and raised in zoo environments, to be transported from Dvůr Králové in the Czech Republic to Rwanda.
All Image Credit: Gael Vande Weghe & African Parks.