Some good news – the five rhinoceroses that were flown 6,000 km from the Czech Republic yesterday, Sunday June 23rd, have touched down in Kigali, Rwanda and been successfully released into their bomas (wooden enclosures), within Akagera National Park. They were met at the airport by national and global media in the early hours, and as they neared the entrance of the park, were greeted by singing school children and local community members who came out to welcome them to their new and wild home.
This exciting initiative which was announced just last Thursday involves a unique collaboration among the Government of Rwanda, the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) and African Parks to show how captive rhinos can help supplement and repopulate wild populations within secure landscapes.
These five rhinos are joining an already existing rhino population, which were successfully reintroduced in 2017 together with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and with support by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. This comes at an exciting time for the park with visitation by tourists at an all-time high. The park is 80% self-sustaining with revenue generation of $2M per year supporting park operations and local communities. Elephants, lions, the existing rhino population and other plains game animals are all thriving, and the park serves as a living example of how a once threatened and depleted landscape can be fully transformed for people and wildlife alike.
The rhinos will remain in their bomas for several weeks, if not months, before being released into a small sanctuary within the park. There, they will be monitored closely to ensure their acclimation before being released into the wider park.
To follow their journey over the coming months, please visit us at www.rhinomove.org; and to read today’s press release, please click here.