African parks, &Beyond and Phinda Private Game Reserve, Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN), Barrick Gold, Garamba National Park, and Tracy and Du Plessis Game CaptureWATCH VIDEO
This project represents a globally significant move, translocating 16 southern white rhino halfway up the continent - from South Africa to Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The return of rhino to Garamba's magnificent landscape singifies a major step towards restoring the ecological balance and preserving its unique wildlife heritage. Originally home to the Northern White Rhino, Garamba has seen no sign of the species for nearly two decades. In its place, the reintroduction of southern white rhino to Garamba is part of the long-term vision of the protected area to create ecological sustainability through healthy ecosystems. As a keystone species, white rhino play an important role in regulating the structure and functioning of the ecosystem in which they exist. Furthermore, this translocation also promotes the long-term conservation of rhino in Africa by extending their range and creating another breeding node for the species in a safe environment.
After years of extensive planning and months of meticulous preparations, Garamba was finally ready for the return of rhino - a keystone species for its landscape. The rhino were caught in Phinda Private Game Reserve at the beginning of 2023, before being held for a couple of months in temporary holding pens. In the beginning of June, we loaded the first half of the animals into their specialised crates to start their 30-hour journey to Garamba National Park. A few days later, the second load of 8 rhino followed. Their journey consisted of being driven by truck from Phinda to Durban Internaitonal Airport, followed by a 12-hour flight to the DRC, and then another drive by truck into Garamba National Park. On arrival, the rhino were kept in a boma for an initial period of adjustment before being released into a larger area for an extended period, where they are continuously monitored as they acclimatise to their new home.
This significant project was only made possible due to the phenomenal collaboration of multiple parties. A huge thank you to our partners African Parks, whose impressive work across the continent makes translocations like this possible. We would also like to express our appreciation to the teams from &Beyond and Phinda Private Game Reserve, Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN), Barrick Gold, Garamba National Park, and Tracy and Du Plessis Game Capture for their significant roles in pulling off this major feat.