Uganda imports rhinos

THE four rhinos acquired to revive the endangered species in Uganda will arrive in the country this month, after a successful capture operation in Kenya.

The two males and two females of the Southern White sub-species will be transported by the wildlife authorities of the two countries to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary in Nakasongola district.

Officials of the Rhino Fund Uganda said these will be the first rhinos for Uganda’s rhino breeding programme.

The rhinos are temporarily being kept at an enclosure at Solio Ranch before their 20-hour journey.

The capture operation was carried out by Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, and health checks were carried out on the animals by a veterinary team from the Kenya Wildlife Service.

The European Union is funding the capture and transport of the rhinos. The EU also funded the purchase of the animals at US dollars 100,000 each.

Uganda is looking for a founder population of 15-20 animals for the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary to breed animals for relocation to protected areas in their original habitat.

In 1968 more than 100 Northern White rhinos lived in Uganda, but the last of these animals was seen in 1983.

Originally, Eastern Black and Northern White rhinos were present in the Murchison Falls and Kidepo Valley national parks, but today, there are only 15 wild Northern White rhinos in Garamba National Park in the DR Congo.

Rhino Fund executive director Yvonne Verkaik said a two-metre high electric fence had been erected around the 7,000 hectare Ziwa sanctuary to house the animals.

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