White rhino calves born after the largest-ever single translocation to Rwanda

White Rhino mother and calf at Akagera National Park, Rwanda © Drew Bantlin
White Rhino mother and calf at Akagera National Park, Rwanda © Drew Bantlin

Rwanda’s Akagera National Park witnessed the birth of White rhino calves after the largest single rhino translocation ever undertaken last year.

The birth of the calves is seen as an essential step toward establishing Akagera as a critical rhino breeding stronghold.

In November 2021, 30 white rhinos were introduced to Akagera National Park, from &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve in South Africa.

According to the International Rhino Foundation (IRF), the global white rhino population continues to decline under pressure from poaching.

This historic initiative was aimed at extending the white rhino range and creating a secure new breeding stronghold in Rwanda, supporting population growth to ensure the long-term survival of the species in the wild as high levels of poaching continue to exert unsustainable pressure on current populations.

“Less than a year on from the translocation, the rhino population in Akagera is thriving,” Conservation and Research Manager, Drew Bantlin said.

“Successful births show that the female rhinos are finding enough nutrition to support milk production and the new calves are growing and healthy and starting to move widely with their mothers,” Bantlin added.

To ensure that this new population of white rhinos also flourishes, each rhino has been fitted with a transmitter to enable constant monitoring by dedicated tracking teams; a canine anti-poaching unit and helicopter surveillance are also in place to provide further support for their long-term protection.

White rhinos are classified as near threatened with numbers declining across existing strongholds, largely due to poaching driven by demand for their horns.

The introduction of southern white rhinos to Akagera expands their range to offer more safe areas for the species.