Five endangered eastern black rhinos, made a 6,000 km journey from Europe to Africa. The three females and two male zoo-born rhinos are aged between two and nine years old. The were born and bred in Flamingo Land in Yorkshire, the Czech Republic’s Dvur Kralove safari park and Ree Park Safari in Denmark. Their new home is the 1000 km Akagera National Park in Rwanda, where these animals are extinct.
The mission to return the animals began 12 years ago when the black rhinos held in 25 zoos and parks across Europe were moved around all over the continent, as part of a breeding programme. The result has been that almost 10% of the entire global population of the eastern black rhinos are now in captivity in Europe. The most amazing thing is that the animals that were released are the descendants of those rhinos that were taken from East Africa and sent to European zoos for display over 40 years ago.
Currently, the status of the rhino species is:
Southern white rhino: Population 17,212 – 18,915, found in southern Africa.
Northern white rhino: Population 2, found in northern and central Africa.
Black rhino: Population 5,366 – 5,627 (It has eight subspecies, of which three are already extinct, including the western black rhino that was declared extinct in 2011). Eastern black rhino: Population 1000, found in eastern and southern Africa.
Greater one horned rhino: Population 3,550, found in the Indian sub-continent.
Sumatran rhino: Population less than 80, found in Indonesia and Borneo.
Javan rhino: Population 69, found in Java, Indonesia.