Published in African Parks Sept 22
Kigali, Rwanda: Akagera National Park has confirmed the birth of a healthy rhino calf, the first to be born in the country in over a decade. This exciting announcement falls on World Rhino Day, September 22nd, and comes only four months after 18 Eastern black rhinoceroses were successfully translocated from South Africa into the park.
“The first rhino calf to be born in over a decade is a profound moment for Rwanda and its people, a country that is leading in its commitment to the conservation of endangered species” said Jes Gruner, Akagera National Park Manager. “The collaboration with the RDB in the restoration of the park over the past six years has made bringing back the Eastern black rhino, one the rarest subspecies on the planet, possible in Rwanda. Through our management and protection and collaboration with local communities, we’re working to safeguard the growth of an important population of rhinoceroses for the region”.
After six years of securing the park and essentially eliminating poaching, in the first two weeks of May this year 18 Eastern black rhinos made a 4,000-kilometre journey by cargo plane from South Africa to Kigali in Rwanda, from where they were transferred and successfully released in to Akagera National Park, which is a protected savannah containing excellent black rhino habitat. Tracked daily by dedicated monitoring teams, the translocated animals are prospering while this new calf brings their population total up to 19. In the 1970s the park was home to more than 50 black rhinos, but under the pressure of poaching their numbers were reduced until the last confirmed sighting of the species in 2007.