Cape Town – Four orphaned black rhinos were relocated to the Babanango Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal last week in what the reserve described as “a conservation milestone in the reserve’s history”.
This was after the rhinos spent six years in captivity at the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, the reserve said in a statement.
Prior to their relocation, they were in the care of the provincial authority, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, but the Black Rhino Range Expansion Project – a partnership between Ezemvelo and the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) – relocated them last week.
“The orphans now form part of a new population which includes wild black rhino individuals that were selected and translocated from other reserves in KZN to Babanango Game Reserve. Some of the animals were airlifted where the terrain made it difficult for trucks to reach,” read the statement.
According to the head of game capture at Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, Jeffery Cooke, the symbolism behind the release of these rhinos could not be overstated, reported New24.
“Under any other circumstance, [they] would have been lost to the species. It is a strong testament to the determination and commitment of not only the staff at the game capture facility, who spent thousands of hours caring for them, but also to the many donors and funders, some of them just school children, who gave willingly to ensure that these animals were given a chance.
“The message is clear: we need to remain committed and united as a province to the task of saving this iconic species, even if it is one animal at a time,” the report quoted Cooke as saying.
The report added each rhino was dehorned and fitted with a tracking device before being released into the reserve to ensure easy monitoring and aid in their protection.
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Compiled by Olwethu Mpeshe