Breaking! 6 Black Rhinos Begin Translocation From South Africa To Chad In Central Africa Close To 5 Decades After Their Local Extinction

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Nearly 50 years after their local extinction, black rhinos will again live in the Republic of Chad in Central Africa.

In an unprecedented international conservation initiative to reintroduce the endangered animals to the area, six black rhinos were moved today from a holding facility in South Africa’s Eastern Cape to begin a 3,000-mile translocation by air to Zakouma National Park in Chad.

The black rhinos are being relocated through a collaboration between the South African Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), the government of Chad, South African National Parks (SANParks) and conservation non-profit African Parks.

While the country’s last black rhino was recorded in 1972, over the past seven years African Parks has implemented extensive measures to practically eliminate poaching in Zakouma, making it possible to reintroduce this critically endangered species after almost half a century of its absence, establishing Chad as a new range state for the species. Chad used to be home to both the Western black rhino and the Northern white rhino.

“Today we are participating in a historic event and peering into a brighter future for this species which has persisted on this planet for millions of years” Peter Fearnhead, CEO of African Parks said in a statement. “Regional cooperation is critical if we are to give these iconic animals a future on this continent. Our collaboration with the Chadian and South African Governments and SANParks gives us a unique opportunity to encourage population growth, expand rhino range, and contribute to restoring biodiversity in Chad.”

The Governments of South Africa and Chad signed a memorandum of understanding in October 2017 to enable the translocation of the rhinos. Today’s progress follows two years of substantial planning to ensure the animals’ safety and wellbeing.

Following their arrival in the park, the rhinos will be released into specially built enclosures for a short period of time to enable close monitoring and acclimatization before being released into a wider, intensively protected sanctuary.

“We are resolved to create a secure and prosperous future for wildlife and people so that generations of Chadians can experience the benefits of healthy and intact natural landscapes,” stated Chad’s Ambassador to South Africa Sagour Youssouf Mahamat Itno. “It is a mark of the strength of our partnership with African Parks and the transformation of Zakouma into a secure sanctuary that we are now able to bring rhinos back to Chad where they will receive enduring protection.”

Fewer than 25,000 rhinos, of which approximately 5,000 are black rhinos, remain in Africa’s wilderness as a result of a devastating surge in poaching.

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