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SOS Rhino : In the News : Zimbabwe: Zim Donates Black Rhino To Botswana

Zimbabwe: Zim Donates Black Rhino To Botswana

  The Herald (Harare)

August 4, 2006 Posted to the web August 4, 2006

ZIMBABWE yesterday donated a black rhino to Botswana's Khama Rhino Sanctuary in an effort to boost the breeding population of the endangered species in Southern Africa.

The male black rhino from Imire Game Park in Marondera would join a female one at the Botswana sanctuary in Serowe where it has been staying for years by itself.

The move was expected to boost Botswana's breeding stock.

Botswana's rhino population was decimated by rampant poaching in the early 1980s and started rebuilding its herd from zero to the current 103.

However, the donation would bring to seven the number of black rhinos in Botswana from the six animals that were scattered in the vast Southern African country.

"We feel honoured to have this rhino donated to us by the Government of Zimbabwe. This is going to further strengthen our co-operation," Ms Mercy Munyadzwe, Botswana's National Rhino Co-ordinator said.

She said her country has also received four other rhinos from Namibia and looking after another one believed to have strayed from Zimbabwe.

"Poaching of the black rhino has been our major challenge of late. We have plans to meet with Zimbabwe's wildlife authorities regarding protection of the species and the employment of other strategies to deal with poachers," she said.

The black rhino, which had become vicious following the coming of other two male black rhinos, was sedated by Parks and Wild Life Management Authority Wildlife Veterinary Services Unit Dr Chris Foggin early yesterday before it was lifted into a crate.

"I knocked it down with M99 medicine and another sedative before giving it a partial reversal of M99 and pulled it in the crate before it regained consciousness," Dr Foggin said.

He said the rhino has been under medical observation for the last three months and was treated of worms and ticks before it was certified fit to travel to Serowe, about 300km from the Plumtree Border Post.

The rhino remains an endangered species and under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), no country is permitted to either hunt or trade in its products, which were on high demand.

Zimbabwe was also in the process of rebuilding its rhino population, which currently stood at slightly above 800 -- 500 of which were white and 300 black.

The rhino population is currently concentrated in few areas around the country to help protect them from poaching.

There are four Intensive Protection Zones for black rhinos, namely Matusadonha, Sinamatela, Matopo and in Chipinge, while several areas including Chipangali Wildlife Sanctuary and Imire Game Park have been set aside as breeding areas for the rhino.

Zimbabwe Rhino Programme coordinator Mr Geoffreys Matipano said the country has made great strides in building not only the national population but that of other countries.

"We have helped several African, American and European countries in building their rhino populations. So far we have donated rhinos to Australia, United States and Germany," he said.

Mr Matipano said Zimbabwe has the fourth highest population of the rhino in Africa after South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania.

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