A historic wildlife translocation has seen 17 black rhinos transferred from South Africa’s Imfolozi Game Reserve to Liwonde National Park in Malawi. The journey is one of the largest international rhino translocations after covering over 1,788.21 km (1,111.14 miles).
The rhino translocation comes as a result of a unique collaboration between several wildlife stakeholders including WWF South Africa’s Black Rhino Range expansion Project (BRREP), African Parks, Malawi Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.
The black rhinos were moved from Imfolozi Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa to Liwonde National Park in Malawi and they were successfully released into their new environment.
African Parks also conducted another internal rhino translocation in Malawi by moving two of Liwonde’s rhinos to the Southwestern wildlife reserve of Majete and another rhino was moved from Majete to Liwonde.
The rhino transfer from South Africa to Malawi comes from a custodianship agreement that was signed by the governments of the two states, Malawi and South Africa and the move aims to boost the population of black rhinos in Malawi, support the region’s effort in conserving the critically endangered species as well as increasing the genetic diversity of existing species in both Liwonde and Majete.
Estimates indicate that there are fewer than 5,000 black rhinos that are left in Africa due to the continued persecution of these critically endangered species for their horns. Measures like effective park management, law enforcement and community engagement are suggested as essential in conserving the population of wild rhinos in their habitat.
The translocation of rhinos to Liwonde National Park is viewed as a positive move as the animals are moved to a well-protected area that will help to give the animals a chance for growth and survival, allowing people in the future to benefit from their natural heritage.
Before being translocated to Malawi, the 17 rhinos were first quarantined in Imfolozi Game Reserve for six weeks after being captured in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. They were later flown to King Shaka airport in Durban and to Lilongwe in Malawi while taking every precaution to ensure their safety and well-being in the whole process. From here, the animals were driven and released into their new home in Liwonde National Park.
The animals have been monitored intensively since their release by African Parks to ensure that they are in good health and that they successfully adapt to their new environment. In addition to the efforts from African Parks, the rangers in the park also conduct daily patrols and hey also use innovative technology to track the rhinos on a live-time basis.
Liwonde is one of the Parks managed by African Parks and the organization has been in charge since 2015 in partnership with DNPW. Since they took over, the management has