WATCH | WWF project translocates 200th black rhino

2019-08-07 15:37
Getting ready to wake the 200th rhino at the new site.

Getting ready to wake the 200th rhino at the new site. (WWF | Micky Wiswedel)

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The WWF's Black Rhino Range Expansion Project (BRREP) in South Africa recently translocated its 200th black rhino to a 14 000-hectare reserve in the Eastern Cape. 

It formed part of an ongoing initiative to increase the numbers of this critically endangered species.

The project looks for new areas to establish populations of black rhinos where they have space to breed, and has successfully created 12 new populations in South Africa since 2003.

In its latest move, the BRREP joined hands with private landowners, the local community and provincial government in the Eastern Cape to create the 14 000-hectare reserve. They are all now joint custodians of the group of black rhinos. 

A SANParks game capture team was contracted to carry out the translocations, using a combination of helicopter airlifts and road transportation. The operation took four days. 

"This move has gone very well so far and we are monitoring the animals closely. They are all still exploring the reserve and some are starting to show signs of setting up home ranges already," said  BRREP project leader Dr Jacques Flamand, following the move. 

"It usually takes a couple of months before they have all completely settled. Their new home is wonderful habitat for black rhino, so we're very pleased and hopeful that they will contribute meaningfully to the numbers of this endangered species," he said.

The black rhino population across Africa plummeted, from around 100 000 in the 1960s to fewer than 2 500 by the mid-1990s, due to poaching and habitat loss, according to the WWF.

Through conservation projects like BRREP, black rhino numbers have doubled to over 5 000.

Approximately 2 000 black rhinos are currently found in South Africa.

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Read more on:    wwf  |  eastern cape  |  wildlife conservation
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