A resort called Flamingo Land in the UK has released an eight-year old black rhino named Chanua to the Udzungwa Forest Project in Tanzania as part of conservation efforts to save the rare species of rhinos.
What is Happening?
- Chanua was born in Chester Zoo in 2012, before being transferred to Flamingo Land in 2015. Last year, the resort, along with other European zoos, released five east African black rhinos at Rwanda’s Akagera National Park.
The resort’s owner Gordon Gibb said: “Chanua’s keeper Sam de Belle said ideally she would be the last one she wanted to return to the wild – she is such a lovely individual, very playful and extremely placid – but the greater good comes first. We are absolutely delighted to be involved with this and it is a testament to the hard work of the keepers and the company’s mission statement.”
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- Chanua, who is now of breeding age, was selected on the basis of her blood groupings by the stud book keeper for all rhino collections in the UK.
- The release to Tanzania is significant because there are so few black rhinos left- just 167 in 2019.
- Once Chanua has arrived in Tanzania following a 12-hour flight, it will be around a month before she is released after getting used to local food.
- Rhinos are hunted and killed by poachers for their horn which is prized in parts of Asia, where it is thought to have medicinal properties.
- According to The International Rhino Foundation (IRF)’s 2020 State of the Rhino report in mid-September, there was a decrease in the number of rhino poaching incidents during the first half of 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Borders around the world closed and international and domestic travel was restricted. Additionally, there was increased military and police presence, regular checkpoints enacted, and government parks and private reserves shuttered to all outside visitors, thwarting opportunities for would-be poachers. International travel restrictions also closed wildlife trafficking routes to China and Vietnam, the largest black markets for rhino horn.
- However, as COVID-19 lockdown restrictions begin to ease in many countries, there are concerns that poaching is on the rise again and with widespread economic losses, more people may be pushed into rhino poaching.
Featured image by: Bruce Rollinson