KZN park moves 6 rhinos to save them from drought

2015-12-15 14:46

Durban – Six rhinos have been moved to other areas of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park to try and save them from the drought.

 The four adult females and two calves were relocated from the park’s uMkhuze section to its western shores over the weekend, as their grazing was under threat by the drought, one of the worst in recent history, iSimangaliso acting chief executive Terri Castis said.

Five adult white rhinos had succumbed to the drought in uMkhuze, some after getting stuck in mud and being too weak to get out or to be pulled out. 

“The severity of the current drought, coupled with extremely high temperatures, has resulted in food shortages and severe nutritional stress for some of the animals. The rhinos are considered a priority species and we believed it was time to intervene and relocate them.”

In 2004, 23 rhino were moved from iSimangaliso’s uMkhuze section to the eastern shores, where they thrived on the coastal grassland and adapted well to wetter conditions.

Park CEO Andrew Zaloumis said rhinos faced many difficulties. They were brought back from the edge of extinction in the 1950s, when the number of white rhinos had fallen to 300. Sixty years later they were under threat from poaching and shrinking habitats due to the persistent severe drought, which was often worsened by poor land management upstream from protected areas.

 “Rhinos are not only a priority endangered species globally, they are also iconic in South Africa. We will do whatever we practically can to ensure their protection and survival,” Zaloumis said.

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