Seventy-six white rhinos will be relocated from South Africa to Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) over the next three years.
The project is led by Kibali, Africa’s largest gold mine owned by Barrick Gold Corporation, in partnership with the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature and USAID. The move is part of a biodiversity initiative and the first 16 rhinos are expected to arrive in Garamba by the end of June this year.
‘The mine’s biodiversity support for the DRC’s Garamba National Park is being extended with the re-introduction of rhinos sourced in South Africa,’ said Mark Bristow, President and CEO of Barrick Gold Corporation, to News24.
Garamba National Park, a Unesco World Heritage site and one of Africa’s oldest national parks, covers about 5,000 km2 and is located 70 km north of the Kibali mine. The white rhinos will return to the area after being wiped out by poachers a decade ago.
The relocation comes as Namibia faces a significant increase in rhino poaching, with 87 rhinos killed by poachers for their horns in 2022, a 93% increase from the previous year. Of these, 26 were white and 61 were the rarer black rhino species. The sharp increase is close to the 2015 record when 101 rhinos were killed, leading authorities to increase protection measures.
According to Save The Rhino, some of the poachers in Namibia were “inside men” according to Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, after 11 rhinos were found dead with their horns removed.
‘The first 16 [rhinos] are expected in Garamba by the end of the second quarter of this year and they will be followed by another 60 over the course of the next three years,’ said Bristow.
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