More than four decades after being locally extinct, rhinos are once again roaming the forests of Mozambique, in an attempt by the Mozambican government to bring South Africa’s endangered species to breathe new life into its parks and boost local tourism.
A group of rangers captured, sedated and transported black and white rhinos over 1,610 km to Mozambique’s Zinave National Park, which covers more than 400,000 hectares and more than 2,300 other reintroduced animals.
“Rhinos are important to the ecosystem, which is one of the reasons we transport them all this distance and go to such lengths to get them there,” Kester told Vickery, a conservationist who oversees rhino resettlement, told Reuters.
The conservation group Peace Parks Foundation (PPF) that runs the operation plans to relocate more than 40 rhinos to Mozambique over the next two years.
“It’s very exciting now to complete the presence of historic species in the park,” Alexander said.
This initiative is part of a campaign to save endangered species by relocating them to safe havens where they have a chance to increase their population.
“We’re effectively splitting our eggs and putting them in different baskets,” Vickery said, adding that she expects to see a thriving population of white rhinos in Zinave in 10 years.
Mozambican Environment Minister Ivete Maibaze said in a statement that this historic change will also benefit the country’s burgeoning ecotourism industry.
Wildlife numbers in Mozambique were hit hard by a 15-year civil war that ended in 1992 and poaching.