Rare rhinos cross countries

Alfred Moselakgomo

Alfred Moselakgomo

Black rhino conservation yesterday received a boost after five of the rare animals were flown to Zambia yesterday as part of an agreement between Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

"This translocation shows that we are committed to regional conservation and are not xenophobic when it comes to creating more habitat for Africa's endangered species," said Kruger Park's managing executive, Bandile Mkhize.

Four of the five rhinos came from the Kruger National Park.

The initiative was a result of an agreement reached last year between the Zambian Wildlife Authority, the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism, and the South African National Parks (SANParks) that will see the relocation of black rhino subspecies increased across the southern African region.

Last year, 12 rare desert or south-western black rhino subspecies from Namibia went to parks and reserves in the semi-desert area of South Africa.

South Africa is sending seven south-central black rhino to Zambia this year, including the five that left yesterday.

The other two, that have been exchanged for four white rhinos, will be delivered to Zambia later this year.

A further five rhinos from the Eastern Cape parks will be relocated to Zambia next year.

Namibia will receive plain game from Zambia in exchange for the 12 rhinos that were delivered to South Africa last year.

Four of the animals that were translocated yesterday come from the Kruger Park and the other from Marakele Park.

The rhinos, two bulls and three cows, will be settled in North Luangwa National Park in Zambia, with support from the Frankfurt Zoological Society of Germany.

When this translocation project is concluded, 13 of the 20 rhinos in North Luangwa National Park would have been supplied by SANParks.

"This shows that we are definitely committed to conservation projects in our entire region and not just South Africa," Mkhize said.