How to Save Black Rhinos From Poachers: Move Them

A conservation group plans to transport the species from South Africa to Chad.
Black rhinoceros calf. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Aug 24, 2015· 1 MIN READ
Samantha Cowan is an associate editor for culture.

The black rhinoceros went extinct in Chad in 1990 owing to high levels of poaching. But one park in the Central African nation will likely get a welcome boost of biodiversity in the near future.

Conservation organization African Parks plans to introduce between five and 10 black rhinos to Zakouma National Park in Chad next year, The Guardian reports.

“Now that the park is under our management and we have a very strong and effective anti-poaching presence, we can consider the reintroduction of key species like black rhino,” Peter Fearnhead, chief executive of African Parks, told The Guardian. The organization is still working out an exact timetable for the transportation.

African Parks relocated seven lions to Akagera National Park in Rwanda in June.

Poaching led to a drastic drop in the black rhino population, with 96 percent wiped out from 1970 to 1992, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Although the numbers have increased in recent years, only 5,050 black rhinos exist globally, and they are under constant threat from poachers wanting to kill the animals for their horns.

RELATED: Good News for Rhinos From an Unexpected Place

With ample protection in Zakouma National Park, some conservationists believe the rhinos will be safer in Chad than in South Africa. Poaching skyrocketed in South Africa in the past seven years; the number of rhinos killed was up 18 percent in the first quarter of 2015 from the same period in 2014. One of the strategies for conserving the species is to transport it to new protected habitats.

Adding a new species to the park could also be a boon for Chad’s economy. The park is home to two of Africa’s Big Five animals—leopards and elephants—the most-sought-after species for safari-goers. Adding rhinos to the mix could attract more tourists and bring more money to a country where close to half of the population lives in poverty.