Black rhino translocated to Chad

Friday, May 4, 2018

Six black rhino have been translocated from the Eastern Cape to Chad following a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the field of Biodiversity Conservation and Management between South Africa and Chad.

“The MOU signed between… [the two countries] in October established a bilateral custodianship arrangement between our countries, which means the rhino will be placed under the protective care of the Republic of Chad and that any calves born will belong to Chad, but can be  used to establish new rhino populations within the continent in line with the African Rhino Range States Conservation Plan,”  Minister of Environmental Affairs, Dr Edna Molewa, said in a statement.

Minister Molewa and the then Minister of Environment and Fisheries of the Republic of Chad, Dr Ahmat Mbodou Mahamat, signed two MoUs last year.

The second MoU allows for the translocation of black rhino from South Africa to Chad as part of an initiative to reintroduce rhino to the African country.

On Thursday, Minister Molewa witnessed the loading and departure of the black rhino from Addo Elephant National Park to Chad.  

“By establishing a viable and secure rhino population of rhino in Chad, we are contributing to the expansion of the rhino population in Africa, and the survival of a species that has faced high levels of poaching for the past decade,” she said.

The Department of Environmental Affairs said the translocation of black rhino is being achieved through a collaboration between the Department of Environmental Affairs, the Government of Chad, South African National Parks (SANParks) and the African Parks Foundation. 

The rhino are being translocated to the Zakouma National Park, which has experienced a dramatic decrease in poaching since 2010, with the local elephant population increasing for the first time in more than a decade.  The last black rhino in Chad was noted in the 1970s in Zakouma.

The MOU on the reintroduction of black rhino in Chad seeks to reestablish a rhinoceros population in Chad as part of the broader biodiversity initiatives between South Africa and Chad.

“A team of experts from South Africa visited Chad in 2017 to assess the habitat, security and management suitability and associated ecological parameters, as well as infrastructural readiness prior to the translocation of black rhinos to Zakouma National Park from South Africa. 

“This built on a feasibility study of the proposed translocation undertaken by the IUCN SSC African Rhino Specialist Group in 2015.  The Republic of Chad earlier signed an agreement with African Parks Network (APN), which allows APN to manage the country’s national parks,” the department said.   

In terms of the collaboration, the rhino were sourced and captured by SANParks in South Africa. Once translocated, African Parks will manage and protect the rhino in Zakouma National Park as part of its overall responsibility for the total management of Zakouma NP. The management of the rhino will be done in accordance with African Rhino Range States’ African Rhino Conservation Plan, the draft Introduction and management plan for black rhinos in Chad.

“Translocation is but one of the interventions being implemented by South Africa as a part of the Integrated Strategic Management of Rhinoceros Approach,” Minister Molewa said. – SAnews.gov.za

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