Dozens of southern white rhino rewilded in South Africa

Dozens of southern white rhino rewilded in South Africa

Dozens of rhinos have been released to the wild in South Africa in a first step of an initiative to free 2,000 into conservancies across the continent, the NGO African Parks said.


The southern white rhino was hunted to near extinction in the late 19th century but gradually recovered after decades of protection and breeding efforts.

The "ambitious plan to rewild 2,000 southern white rhino into secure protected areas" will happen over the next 10 years, the Johannesburg-based NGO said on Thursday.

The first 40 dehorned rhino were donated to Munywana Conservancy in the KwaZulu-Natal province to boost its rhino population in the project named "Rhino Rewild".

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The South African government was "very supportive" of the initiative, Environment Minister Barbara Creecy said.

In September, African Parks -- a non-profit organisation funded by donors including the EU, USAID and independent international foundations -- bought a 7,800-hectare (1,9300-acre) South African rhino farm, the largest in the world, which was home to 2,000 animals.

South Africa, home to nearly 80 percent of the world's rhinoceros, is a poaching hotspot driven by demand from Asia, where horns are used in traditional medicine for their supposed therapeutic effect.

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