30 White rhinos make record journey to Akagera national park | The Optimist Daily
Today’s Solutions: July 12, 2024

White rhinos are classified as near threatened, with numbers dropping due to poaching. In a bid to improve the outlook for the species, 30 of these giant animals recently made the journey from South Africa to Rwanda in the largest single rhino translocation in history.

Weighing 1.5 tons each, the animals were loaded onto a Boeing 747 and lightly sedated to keep them calm during the journey. Their destination was Akagera national park in eastern Rwanda, where conservationists hope an active breeding program will help save the species from becoming endangered. There are currently 18,000 across all of Africa, and the plan is to grow the Akagera population to 500 or 1,000 animals.

Before boarding their plane, the 19 females and 11 males were transported from the Phinda private game reserve in South Africa’s Munyawana conservancy. In total, they traveled 3,400km to become the first white rhinos in Rwanda. Unlike black rhinos, they are not native to the country.

The move—a huge logistical feat—was a collaboration between African Parks, the Rwandan government’s Rwanda Development Board, and safari company &Beyond. The move was supported with funding from the Howard G Buffett Foundation. The animals were heavily guarded along the way to ensure their safe arrival.

Conservationists carefully selected Akagera as an ideal location for the new rhinos. The region has plenty of habitat for the animals and the government of Rwanda has shown serious commitment to protecting the species. In 2017, the park accepted 18 black rhinos, none of which have been poached so far due to stringent security measures.

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