Harare – As Zimbabwe prepares to re-introduce black and white rhinoceros to the country’s second biggest national park, Gonarezhou, measures are being finalised to protect the endangered species.
Gonarezhou forms part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park with Limpopo National Park (Mozambique) and Kruger National Park, and the reintroductions of rhinos will make it home to all of the Big 5.
This will be the second time rhinos will have been reintroduced to the park. The original rhino population was completely depleted between 1930 and 1940, and the colonial regime tried to reintroduce the species in Gonarezhou in 1969. In that year, 77 rhinos were put in the park and the population grew to 140 by 1977.
But wave of rhino poaching across Africa in the early 1980s did not spare Gonarezhou, and by 1994 it once again did not have a single one of the animals
Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo told The Southern Times this week that they were ready to reintroduce the species.
“Before any translocation of any species is done a research is undertaken in order to see if the species will adapt to the conditions and also in this case the safety and protection of the rhinos has been done.
“Twice the rhino population has gone into extinction in the Gonarezhou National Park, as we are set to re-introduce the rhinos into the park due diligence has been done to ensure that we do not see a repeat of what has happened in the past and we confident that this re-introduction process will be a success.
“The re-introduction of rhinos into Gonarezhou National Park, is good news for the country, as this is going to be a major drawcard for the tourism sector as, now the park will boast of all the big five species,” ,” said Mr Farawo.