LILONGWE, Malawi, Nov. 13, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- In one of the largest international black rhino translocations to date, WWF South Africa, African Parks, Malawi's Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife have successfully moved 17 black rhinos from South Africa to Liwonde National Park in Malawi. Based on a custodianship agreement signed between the Governments of Malawi and South Africa, the aim is to boost Malawi's black rhino populations and aid regional efforts to conserve the critically endangered species.
"This international collaboration is an opportunity to contribute to improving the prospects of rhinos in Africa" said the Director of Malawi's DNPW Brighton Kumchedwa, "By working with partners to restore our natural heritage, in concert with economic development, we're providing a sustainable future for both wildlife and people in our country".
The 17 rhinos were quarantined in South Africa for six weeks before being moved to their new home in Liwonde National Park, where they were released on Tuesday 12 November and are settling in well. To improve the diversity of populations in Malawi, African Parks moved a further three rhinos between Liwonde and Majete Wildlife Reserve, which it manages in partnership with the DNPW.
Their joint efforts to restore Majete and Liwonde have transformed these landscapes, resulting in the dramatic reduction of poaching, numerous reintroductions of key species, and growth in tourism. "Well-managed protected areas are a vital lifeline for countless wildlife and people. Thanks to the leadership of the Malawi Government, we've been able to ensure that critically endangered species like black rhino can return to these places and people can benefit from the areas being conserved" said Park Manager of Liwonde National Park Craig Reid.
Law enforcement coupled with community initiatives have been central to ensuring adequate security while achieving strong support for the parks. Extensive measures to protect the rhinos include aerial surveillance, daily patrols and the integration of the most advanced technology to enable their live-time tracking.
With around 5500 black rhinos remaining across their range in the wild, translocations to well-protected areas are essential in giving populations a chance for growth and survival. This project was made possible with the support of Stichting Natura Africae, Vale Logistics and Save the Rhino International. WWF Belgium, The Wyss Foundation, and the People's Postcode Lottery have provided essential support for the overall management of Majete and Liwonde.
SOURCE African Parks