Ten years after the disappearance of the black rhino species in Rwanda, they are being reintroduced back into the country. Around twenty of the rhino are being flown in from South Africa to make their new home in the African Parks in Rwanda.

Many are excited to welcome back the Eastern black rhino, who used to be indigenous to the area. Sadly, due to excessive poaching, the last one ever seen was in 2007. Now, ten years later, Rwanda’s Akagera National Park will be the haven for these endangered animals.

In a statement released by African Parks earlier this month, “this extraordinary homecoming will take place over the first two weeks of May.” Ten rhino were transported to the park in the beginning of May, with the next seven to follow shortly. By bringing back the rhinos, the park is once again the proud patron of the Big Five.

The Rhino as the Symbol of Africa

“Rhinos are one of the great symbols of Africa yet they are severely threatened and are on the decline in many places across the continent, due to the extremely lucrative and illegal rhino horn trade,” African Parks CEO Peter Fearnhead said.

17 Eastern black rhino are being reintroduced into Rwanda a decade after they disappeared. Credit: Elicit Africa.

17 Eastern black rhino are being reintroduced into Rwanda a decade after they disappeared. Credit: Elicit Africa.

Due to the market value of their horns, rhinos have become susceptible to extensive poaching. A kilogram of rhino horn can fetch as much as $50,000, according to Defence Web.

The Eastern black rhino is the most rare of the black rhino species, with numbers lingering as low as 1 000, accounting for only 20% of the entire black rhino population.

Increased Security at Akagera African Park

In order to contribute to the protection and conservation of the species, Akagera African Park has increased their security.

“We are fully prepared to welcome them and ensure their safety for the benefit of our tourism industry and the community at large,” said Clare Akamanzi, the CEO of the Rwanda Development Board, in the release.

The national park has increased surveillance, by deploying a helicopter to monitor from the skies, and a rhino tracking team and canine-unit to patrol the ground. Akagera Park has also received funding from Howard Buffett Foundation. Hopefully, with more surveillance and financial support these seventeen rhino can be protected against the hungry hands of the poachers.

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