Thirty endangered white rhinos from South Africa have arrived in Rwanda where it’s hoped they will thrive.
The animals were transported in a Boeing 747 in what is the largest single transfer of the species ever undertaken.
After arriving in Rwanda, the animals were placed in two grassy enclosures in preparation for a later release.
“White rhinos are being persecuted on the continent. They are not stable. They are on a knife edge, they could go either way. If something happened to Kenya or to South Africa on the scene of white rhinos — that is where the majority of white rhinos are — then white rhinos are really on the brink of extinction. So it makes no better sense than to bring them into safe areas, areas we know where they would thrive”, said Jes Gruner, regional operations manager for African Parks.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, the southern white rhino, one of two subspecies of white rhino, is now considered endangered with about 20,000 individuals remaining.
“The white rhinos are going to be seen by almost all the tourists in the open places, easy to see, it’s really going to be something that will really help a lot on the tourism side, help a lot on the side of the people who visit our park, to have a guarantee that they will see the white rhinos”, concluded Ian Munyankindi, director of tourism and hospitality at Akagera National Park in Rwanda.
Once plentiful across sub-Saharan Africa, the white rhino suffered first from hunting by European settlers. Later, a poaching epidemic largely wiped them out.