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Rwanda’s New Rhinos – the Largest-Ever Single Translocation

2 min read

Updated 01 December 2021

Picture of Chris McIntyre

By Chris McIntyre

Managing Director

*A version of this article originally appeared in the December 2021 Bush Telegraph newsletter. You can read our recent newsletters and sign-up to receive these in your inbox on our Bush Telegraph newsletter page.

In the last few weeks, Rwanda has cemented its position as a globally important sanctuary for both black and white rhinoceros.

In the largest ever single translocation of the species, 30 southern white rhinos were successfully moved from South Africa’s Phinda Private Game Reserve to Akagera National Park in Rwanda. This historic translocation is aimed at establishing a secure new stronghold for white rhinos in a park that has invested so much time, effort and resources into protecting a safe, intact, wild landscape. Extending the current rhino range and introducing a new, safe breeding area helps to secures the long-term survival of this threatened species.

The white rhino is the largest and most social of the five living species of rhinoceros. Living in herds – or crashes – and noted for its two, solid keratin horns, large size (second only to elephants in body mass), poor eyesight and distinctive broad mouth (a mistranslation of the Dutch ‘wijd’ meaning ‘wide’ leading to its English colour moniker), the white rhino is a gentle giant and an ever-popular safari sighting.

After travelling 3,400km by road and plane, each of the relocated rhinos has been fitted with a transmitter to enable constant monitoring by dedicated tracking teams, from the brilliant anti-poaching canine unit to advanced helicopter surveillance. Over a decade of hard work in Akagera has gone into robust anti-poaching programmes, positive community engagement and wildlife reintroductions in the park. New populations of lions and black rhinos are already success stories here, so it is with high hopes that this significant white rhino population joins Rwanda’s wildlife conservation drive.

There are two camps in Akagera we like very much: the rustic Ruzizi Tented Lodge in the south of the park and the more luxurious Magashi Camp in the north, either of which combines well with a guided trip to see the mountain gorillas, in Volcanoes National Park. Have a look at our Golden Monkey Safari for an example of such a trip, or give Expert Africa’s Rwanda team a call to hear all the latest news and views.

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