Extinction not averted: Rhino populations remain a cause for concern

In Africa, several resettlement projects are helping to save rhinos from extinction.

Extinction not averted: Rhino populations remain a cause for concern

In Africa, several resettlement projects are helping to save rhinos from extinction. Nevertheless, concern for the animals is increasing - also due to the consequences of the corona pandemic.

In Mozambique and Rwanda, resettlement projects give hope to rhinos. After 19 white rhinos were resettled in Mozambique in July, black rhinos are now living there again. Seven specimens have been relocated from South Africa to Zinave National Park, the Peace Parks Foundation said this week. Previously, rhinos were considered extinct in the country on the East African coast for around 40 years.

Further north in Rwanda, the population of white rhinos is recovering slightly after the animals were also thought to be extinct in the East African country. A year ago, 30 of the endangered animals were relocated from South Africa to Akagera National Park in Rwanda. Now the group has offspring.

Nevertheless, on World Rhino Day on September 22nd, concern for the animals prevails. According to the environmental foundation WWF, the population of rhinos in Africa is declining by three percent annually. Last year, she only counted around 18,000 white rhinos and almost 6,200 black rhinos.

In Africa, hundreds of rhinos are killed each year for their horn; in South Africa the animals are particularly endangered. International trade in rhino horns is prohibited. But in Asia, especially in Vietnam and China, horn is popular as an ingredient in traditional medicine and brings high returns.

During the corona pandemic, poaching and the illegal rhino trade declined due to travel restrictions. In East Africa, however, the situation has recently deteriorated again, as many national parks had to reduce their staff due to the lack of income from tourism.

Rwanda's government took a different approach. "They have invested in protecting their national parks, which benefits both the wildlife and the local communities," said Drew Bantlin, conservation manager of Rwanda's Akagera National Park. "So far, none of the newly settled rhinos have fallen victim to poachers." Rwanda is now hoping for more tourists.

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