Hundreds of scientists, authorities and participants in the white rhino conservation project were gathered on Friday at NamibRand Nature Reserve in Namibia to witness the world’s largest translocation of white rhinos from Africa to captivity. The 264 rhinos were moved from the last remaining white rhino sanctuary in northern Kenya in a single day, taking the total number of white rhinos in the wild to just 581. It’s the largest ever translocation operation that conservationists have undertaken to grow the rhino population in captivity. The transferred rhinos were tracked by satellite collars and had cameras at their feet that allowed for a visual tracking of the movement of each rhino after its relocation.
The rhinos were taken from Amoud and Garissa game reserves to the permanent home of Africa’s white rhinos at NamibRand, the Namibian national park that houses much of the species. The relocation project is estimated to cost $35 million, and there were 245 volunteers who assisted in the massive operation, including conservationists from numerous African countries. The park will be given the rhinos six months to adapt before they’re allowed to be tracked by local communities, while the remaining 360 white rhinos in the park will be relocated to Namibia for breeding in more open and wildlife-friendly habitats. The new facility will also serve as a safe haven for possible extinction of the population if poaching trends persist.
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