Rwanda: Eight More Rhinos and Two Lions Relocated to Akagera Park

The second batch of rhinos arrived into the country yesterday morning at 3:30 am aboard Etihad Airways Cargo plane alongside two male lions.

This batch follows the first batch of 10 rhinos which arrived in the country a week ago.

This brings the total number of lions in Rwanda to 19 and 18 rhinos.

The latest arrivals were also taken to Akagera Park where they will spend a day in a shed for observation before being released into the wild.

The relocation process is through a partnership between African Parks, a non-profit that manages national parks on behalf of governments, the Rwanda Development Board and funding from Howard G. Buffett Foundation.

Prior to the relocation last week, the last rhino was spotted in the country about 10 years ago.

In the 1970s estimates put the number of black rhinos in Akagera National Park at about 50 but their numbers declined largely due to poaching. The last sighting of the species was in 2007.

In readiness for the rhinos, the park which is a protected savannah habitat has since undergone transformation since African Parks assumed management in 2010.

Among the upgrades in readiness for the rhinos included establishment of an expertly-trained rhino tracking and protection team, a canine anti-poaching unit and the deployment of a helicopter for air surveillance.

With fewer than 5,000 black rhino remaining experts estimate that there are only about 1,000 Eastern black rhino remaining.

Source: allAfrica