Endangered White Rhinos Reintroduced to DR Congo’s Garamba National Park

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White rhinoceroses have made a triumphant return to Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), with the release of sixteen southern white rhinos, officials announced on Saturday.

This reintroduction is a significant step towards preserving the endangered species, which had been severely depleted due to rampant poaching. The last remaining northern white rhino in the park fell victim to poachers in 2006.

The operation, carried out in collaboration between the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN), conservation NGO African Parks, and Canadian mining company Barrick Gold, involved transporting the rhinos from a private reserve in South Africa to Garamba.

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Yves Milan Ngangay, the director general of ICCN, praised the initiative as a testament to the DRC’s commitment to biodiversity conservation. Garamba National Park, established in 1938, is one of Africa’s oldest parks, but years of conflict, poaching, and insecurity in the volatile DRC have taken a toll on its wildlife.

Peter Fearnhead, CEO of African Parks, acknowledged that previous efforts to save the northern white rhinos had been insufficient. However, the reintroduction of southern white rhinos provides hope, as they are the closest genetic alternative to their northern counterparts.

The successful reintroduction marks the beginning of a process to restore the ecological balance, and plans are underway to send more southern white rhinoceroses to Garamba National Park in the future.

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