Five critically endangered black rhinos, born and bred in Europe, will be flown 6,000 km to Akagera National Park in Rwanda this Sunday 23, in the largest ever translocation of rhinos from Europe to Africa.
The Eastern Black Rhinoceroses, who were born and raised in zoo environments, will be transported from Dvůr Králové safari park in the Czech Republic to Akagera National Park in Rwanda, where they will be ultimately released into their new and wild home.
The translocation is a collaboration between the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), the Government of Rwanda and conservation NGO African Parks.
Three female and two male black rhinos, ranging between two to nine years old, were chosen from the EAZA EEP.
Jasiri, Jasmina and Manny were born in Safari Park Dvůr Králové (Czech Republic); Olmoti comes from Flamingo Land (United Kingdom) and Mandela is from Ree Park Safari (Denmark).
Currently there are fewer than 5,000 wild black rhinos and only 1,000 Eastern Black Rhinos remain in Africa; and their future is severely threatened by poaching for the illegal demand for their horns.
According to African Parks, the translocation project represents an “urgent and valuable opportunity” to expand the range and protection of the black rhino, with the aim to supplement and repopulate wild populations within secure landscapes.
“Large scale cooperation between EAZA zoos has resulted in a healthy, sustainable population of Eastern Black Rhino. This means we can now take a major step towards protecting the future of the species in the wild,” said Mark Pilgrim, Programme Coordinator for black rhino at the EAZA and CEO of Chester Zoo in the UK.