CHIREDZI – The Gonarezhou Conservation Trust(GCT) in partneship with Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife management Authority and the Frankfurt Zoological Society has re-introduced black rhinos into Gonarezhou on 15 June following their extinction in 1994 due to commercial poaching.
Gonarezhou Conservation Trust director, Hugo van der Westhuizen confirmed the development in a statement released on 24 July 2021 to the Press.
He said that the rhinos were introduced into Gonarezhou on 15 June and they were brought from three privately owned conservancies. The development now makes Gonarezhou one of the world’s homes for the big five animals.
The animals were donated by Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, Bubye Valley Conservancy and Save Valley Conservancy.
The big five animals are the buffalo, elephant, lion, Leopard and without the rhino, Gonarezhou was one animal short of the big five.
GCT senior area manager Evious Mpofu said the GCT will ensure that the rhinos will be protected this time by way of increasing security and retraining rangers. The workforce has been increased to more than 180.
This is the third time that Gonarezhou has introduced the Black Rhino in the conservancy. Gonarezhou lost its first Rhinos in 1940 and introduced 77 more in 1969 and they were again lost in 1980s and introduced again before they were lost in 1994.
Mpofu also told The Mirror that Gonarezhou received 27 Rhinos so far which were donated by Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, Bubye Valley Conservancy and Save Valley Conservancy.
“We have received 27 Rhinos so far though we are still expecting more Rhinos and we cannot disclose the total for security reasons and the ratio of males to females is the same,” said Mpofu.
He also said they had considered the Black Rhino to White Rhino because the habitat conditions in Gonarezhou are more favourable to the Black Rhino.
Mpofu also said they had intensified security at Gonarezhou to safeguard the endangered species and they have increased their rangers to more than 180.
Gonarezhou is the second largest game reserve in the country with an elephant population of 11 000.