Ten eastern black rhinos have been relocated from South Africa to Rwanda’s Akagera National Park, 10 years after the poaching-threatened animal was last seen in the park, authorities said Tuesday.
The relocation is the result of Rwanda’s collaboration with African Parks, which manages protected areas for governments across the continent.
“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 . . . illegal rhino horn trade,” African Parks chief Peter Fearnhead said in a statement. “The rhino’s return to this country, however, is a testament to Rwanda’s extraordinary commitment to conservation.”
Up to 20 eastern black rhinos will be transferred to Rwanda this month. The Rwanda Development Board called the relocation “a historic move for the nation and the species.”
About 1,000 eastern black rhinos remain in the wild.
The last sighting of a rhino in Akagera was in 2007. In the 1970s, more than 50 black rhinos thrived there, but their numbers declined under pressure from poachers, African Parks said.
Akagera is now safe for the rhinos because there are security measures, including a rhino tracking and protection team, African Parks said.