A family of southern white rhinos at Kruger National Park in South Africa in 2017. Andre Seale/VW PICS/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
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The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) recently welcomed the reintroduction of 16 southern white rhinos into Garamba National Park, according to officials, as reported by Phys.org. The last wild northern white rhino was poached there in 2006.
The white rhinos were transported to Garamba, located in the northeast of the country, from a private South African reserve.
“The return of white rhinos to the Democratic Republic of the Congo demonstrates our country’s commitment to biodiversity conservationsaid Yves Milan Ngangay, the director general of the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN), according to Phys.org.
ICCN led the operation, with conservation NGO African Parks and Barrick Gold, a Canadian mining company sponsoring the effort.
Northern and southern white rhinos were once abundant in different parts of Africa and are genetically distinct. THE northern white rhino is considered functionally extinctbecause there are only two people left at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, both feminine. Research is still underway to find out if he can be saved from the edge of extinction. Sudan, the last male northern white rhino, died in 2018.
At the end of the 19th century, the southern white rhino The subspecies was believed to be extinct due to poaching until a population of less than 100 individuals was discovered in South Africa in 1895, according to the WWF. After more than 100 years of management and protection, more than 20,000 southern white rhinos live in private game reserves and protected areas, and the subspecies is classified as Near Threatened.
Almost all white rhinos are found in four countries: Namibia, Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Garamba National Park was established in 1938 and is one of Africa’s oldest wildlife parks, but poaching and conflict in the country have wiped out its wildlife.
“This reintroduction is the beginning of a process by which southern white rhino because the closest genetic alternative can fill the role of the northern white rhino in the landscape,” said African Parks CEO Peter Fearnhead, as reported by Phys.org. Fearnhead said attempts to save the park’s northern white rhinos had been “too little, too late”.
New southern white rhino residents of the park have been fitted with ear tags and GPS collars to monitor their health and movements, Nature World News reported.
“The rhinos arrived by air from South Africa this week and have now been released into the park where professional staff and trained veterinarians will regularly monitor their acclimation,” said the Barrick Gold says the website.
Fearnhead added that other southern white rhinos should “be sent to Garamba National Park in the future”, as reported by Phys.org.