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Media Release: Black Rhino Released In Karoo National Park

14 May 2007

The last of three black rhino translocated from Namibia to the Karoo National Park near Beaufort West will be released from the bomas tonight.

The three rhino of the Diceros bicornis bicornis subspecies, or so-called ‘desert-ecotype’, are part of a group of twelve rhino that have been translocated to South Africa. Nine rhino were translocated to Addo Elephant National Park. Of these, three have been released into Addo and the other six will remain in the Addo Elephant National Park bomas until they are moved to Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area.

The rhino translocation is the first step in a four-way partnership between South African National Parks, the Namibian Ministry of Environment & Tourism, the Zambian Wildlife Authority and the Eastern Cape Parks Board. The partnership was initiated with the intention to exchange rhino for antelope between Namibia and Zambia.

Rhino of the bicornis subspecies from Namibia have been released into Karoo and Addo Elephant National Parks in exchange for the translocation of black rhino of the Diceros bicornis minor subspecies from South African National Parks to Zambia at a later date. The minor black rhino subspecies is the subspecies naturally found in Zambia.

The three rhino in Karoo National Park spent a few days in the bomas, since their arrival on the 9th of May, to acclimatise to the local conditions and enable SANParks veterinarians to ascertain that their condition was stable following translocation. The rhino also had transmitters fitted to their horns to provide a means of locating the rhino, both for monitoring purposes and for security.

The release of the rhino into the Park was carried out one at a time and at night time in order to minimise the stress placed on the animals. The first two rhino were released on Sunday night and the early hours of Monday morning respectively. The new rhinos join the two resident black rhino in the Park.

Such translocations of rhino are an important management tool for South African National Parks to ensure genetic diversity in managing its metapopulation of bicornis subspecies black rhino in the Karoo, Addo Elephant and Mountain Zebra National Parks, as well as the new national park situated outside Kimberley that will replace Vaalbos National Park.

Issued by : South African National Parks
Enquiries :   Megan Bradfield
Communications Manager: Frontier Region
Addo Elephant*Camdeboo*Karoo*Mountain Zebra National Parks
South African National Parks
Tel: (042) 2338609 or 083 6508649

Gerard Pretorius
Senior Section Ranger
Karoo National Park
Tel: (023) 4152828