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World’s rarest rhinos travel back to Africa

Posted on: 21.12.09 (Last edited) 26 January 2015

FFI plays critical role in last ditch efforts to save the world’s rarest large mammal from extinction.

FFI has helped to bring about the translocation of four of the world’s last known remaining eight northern white rhinos from captivity back to the wild. The rhinos were moved from Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Laikipia, Kenya on the 20 of December 2009.

”Northern white rhinos are the world’s rarest large mammal” said Dr Rob Brett, FFI Africa Regional Director and member of the IUCN African Rhino Specialist group.

”They are listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and are thought to be extinct in the wild. Moving them now is a last bid effort to save them and their gene pool from total extinction.”

Suni, a male northern white rhino, steps onto African soil for the first time ever!

FFI has raised 80% of the nearly half a million dollars raised to move and re-establish the rhinos in Africa. It has been an expensive ordeal with the rhinos moved in specially designed crates by road from Dvur Kralove Zoo to Prague airport.

They were then flown to Nairobi and driven out to Ol Pejeta Conservancy. The rhinos were accompanied by their keeper and several veterinarians.

By providing the four rhinos with a natural habitat and secure African setting, they will significantly increase their chances of breeding successfully. To date, captive breeding of northern white rhino in zoos has had limited success, with breeding only occurring at Dvur Kralove Zoo.

The long-term aim of the translocation is to establish a viable breeding group of locally adapted white rhinos for reintroduction back into secure areas of their original range in eastern Africa.

Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Back to Africa, and the Kenya Wildlife Service have also been involved in the initiative.

Download media release

Last Chance to Survive: Northern White Rhino Conservation Project FAQ

Go to the initiative’s website for videos, photo galleries and blogs on the rhinos: www.northernwhiterhinolastchance.com

Written by
Rebecca Foges

Rebecca has been working at FFI since September 2007. Though she studied conservation in her BA and MSc, she decided that the life in the jungle just wasn't for her. Having grown up in New York City, she has experienced more pigeons and squirrels than parrots and spider monkeys. So she decided to write about the impact that FFI's projects have on the ground. Her current role as Communications Officer (Business & Biodiversity) has allowed her to focus her energy towards FFI's innovative Business & Biodiversity Programme. Rebecca helps to get the message out about FFI's strategic corporate partnerships and what they have helped to achieve for global biodiversity.

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