76 white rhinos to be relocated from SA to DRC over three years

Seventy-six white rhinos will be relocated from a private game farm in South Africa during the next three years.
Seventy-six white rhinos will be relocated from a private game farm in South Africa during the next three years.
PHOTO: John Thys, AFP
  • Sixteen white rhinos will be relocated to the DRC's Garamba National Park by June.
  • Seventy-six will be relocated from a private game farm in South Africa during the next three years.
  • Eighty-seven rhinos were poached in Namibia last year, according to government figures.

Over the next three years, 76 white rhinos will be relocated from South Africa to the Garamba National Park in the north-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The project is spearheaded by Africa's largest gold mine in the area, Kibali, owned by South Africa's Barrick Gold Corporation. They are in partnership with the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature and USAID in the biodiversity initiative.

The relocation was announced by Mark Bristow, the president and CEO of Barrick Gold Corporation, a New York and Toronto-listed company.

"The mine's biodiversity support for the DRC's Garamba National Park is being extended with the re-introduction of rhinos sourced in South Africa. 

"The first 16 are expected in Garamba by the end of the second quarter of this year and they will be followed by another 60 over the course of the next three years," he said.

Garamba National Park is located 70 kilometres north of the Kibali mine, and it covers about 5 000km2.

READ | Namibia rhino poaching surged 93% in 2022

Following years of armed conflict and poaching, which led to sharp losses in wildlife populations, Garamba is one of Africa's oldest national parks and a Unesco World Heritage site.

The white rhinos will return to the area, a decade after they were wiped out by poachers.

The relocation to the DRC is happening as Namibia faces a marked increase in rhino poaching.

A spokesperson for Namibia's Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, Romeo Muyunda, said 87 rhinos were killed by poachers for their horns in 2022, a startling 93% increase from 2021.

Twenty-six of the rhinos were white, and 61 were the rarer black rhino species.

The sharp increase is close to the 2015 record when 101 rhinos were killed, forcing authorities to increase surveillance and protection measures.

According to Save The Rhino, "of the 41 rhinos killed outside Etosha, 15 were poached on rhino custodianship farms, and 25 on private farms which have small populations of white rhinos".

Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta in June last year claimed some of the poachers were "inside men", after 11 rhinos were found dead with their horns removed.

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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