Zimbabwe will be donating ten white rhinos to the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to a statement by Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks), with the aim of re-establishing a population that was driven to extinction by poachers a decade ago and expand the regional rhino range area.
According to the statement, the rhinos are being translocated from three different areas – Lake Chivero Park, Kyle Recreational Park and Matobo National Park. Rhinos at Lake Chivero and Kyle have reached near ecological carrying capacity and the translocation is part of destocking in line with an approved national rhino conservation and management strategy.
“The translocation is being done adhering to local and international wildlife translocation protocols,” the ZimParks statement said, “particularly IUCN rhino pre-translocation guidelines and the African Rhino Range States’ African Rhino Conservation Plan.”
“The Zimbabwean Government was satisfied that the pre- and post-translocation conditions in [the DR Congo] met the requisite standards for a successful re-establishment of rhinos in that country,” the statement continued.
ZimParks and conservationists said moving the rhinos from Zimbabwe would strengthen the gene pool. Zimbabwe had about 800 black and white rhinos in 2016 and is one of just four countries with nearly all the world’s white rhinos.
Zimparks Public Relations Manager, Mr Tinashe Farawo highlighted that the country is proud to have recorded successes in rhino conservation, adding that the donation is a deliberate effort to enhance the security and genetic proliferation of the species at the regional level.
“Zimbabwe is one of the important rhino range countries in the world and has seen steady population growth. This donation is meant to enhance the rhino regional conservation programme,” he said.
According to Zimparks, a management and scientific assessment of the security and law enforcement status as well as potential biological proliferation of the rhinos was done to inform the translocation requirements.
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