After 40 years of extinction, white rhinos arrive in Mozambique

The initiative was carried out by the Peace Parks Foundation wherein 19 rhinos were reintroduced to Zinave National Park in Mozambique.

It is after 40 long years of extinction that white rhinos are roaming again the wilds of Mozambique in East Africa. Travelling a total distance of over 1,600 km byroad on a truck, 19 rhinos were reintroduced in Zinave National Park by a team of rangers. The idea was to bring in the endangered species from South Africa to breathe new life into the park and boost local tourism in this region.

White rhinos return to mozambique
White rhinos return to Mozambique! Image: Shutterstock/JONATHAN PLEDGER.

This is considered the longest-ever translocation of the wild animal via road. Sprawling across 4,00,000 hectares of land inhabiting more than 2,300 other reintroduced animals, the national park is the only one to provide shelter to all ‘Big Five’ game animals in Africa, including rhino, elephant, lion, leopard, and buffalo.

“Rhinos are important to the ecosystem, which is one of the reasons why we are moving them all this distance and doing all this effort to get them there,” said Kester Vickery, a conservationist supervising the translocation of rhinos, as per the report by Reuters.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified white rhinos as near-threatened, whereas black African rhinos are classified as critically endangered. The Peace Parks Foundation (PPF), the conservation group conducting the operation, is planning to relocate 40 rhinos to Mozambique over the next two years.

Zinave national park
Zinave is the only national park in Africa to shelter all Big Five game animals. Image: Shutterstock/FOTOGRIN.

The project manager, Anthony Alexander further informed that the group has already brought in some predators and several elephants to the park. Now, it was the rhinos’ turn to be back. He said, “It’s very exciting now to complete the presence of historical species in the park”.

Werner Myburgh, chief executive officer at PPF leading the group, said, “The return of the rhino allows for Zinave to be introduced as a new and exciting tourism destination in Mozambique.” The initiative is a part of a campaign to save the endangered species by relocating them to safe havens where they have a chance to increase their population. The national park is expected to see a thriving population of rhinos in next 10 years.

As per Mozambican environment minister Ivete Maibaze, this historic translocation will help in the country’s attempt to make tourism eco-friendly and save the endangered species by shifting them to a safer environment.

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