Although Rwanda is more renowned for mountain gorillas, the East African country is once again home to critically endangered black rhinos.
More than 50 black rhinos — which can weigh up to two metric tons — roamed Rwanda in the 1970s. But they were targeted by poachers over the following four decades and completely disappeared. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), there are only around 1,000 of the animals left in the wild.
Ten eastern black rhinos have recently been relocated to Akagera National Park a decade after the species was last sighted in the country. Born and raised in South Africa, they are the first black rhinos to set hoof in the country since 2007. The transfer was arranged via a partnership between the nonprofit African Parks and the Rwanda Development Board, with funding from the Howard G Buffett Foundation.
“Rhinos are one of the great symbols of Africa,” said African Parks CEO Peter Fearnhead in announcing the relocation. “Yet they are severely threatened and are on the decline in many places across the continent due to the extremely lucrative and illegal rhino horn trade. The rhinos’ return to this country, however, is a testament to Rwanda’s extra-ordinary commitment to conservation and is another milestone in the restoration of Akagera’s natural diversity.”
With the reintroduction of lions in 2015 and now rhinos, Akagera is once again home to Africa’s “big five” along with elephants, leopards and buffaloes.
Adventure Consults offers a number of tailor-made safaris that include visits to Akagera including: