The Fab Four enjoy being back in Africa

A month after being translocated from Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic to Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy, four of the world’s last known remaining eight northern white rhinos are finding their feet and enjoying the sunshine.

“It is gratifying to see how well the rhinos have adapted to their new surroundings and a wild diet,” said Dr Rob Brett, FFI Africa Regional Director.

“The social stimulus of living with other white rhinos over the next few months will give them the best chances of getting into the right condition to breed naturally”

After initially being kept in small enclosures, or bomas, they are now spending time in larger paddocks. This is the first critical step to being reintroduced into two 600-acre breeding areas.

The rhinos, three of which have spent all their lives in the zoo, are slowly getting used to the electric fences and have been fitted with transmitters. Rhinos are at risk from poaching so this is a necessary way to protect them.

Their two dedicated keepers, who have cared for them for over 20 years, recently returned home to the Czech Republic. They had been with the animals for over a month, assisting with the transition. While both are happy to see the animals back in Africa looking healthy leaving behind animals that they have cared for and loved all their lives was an extremely difficult and emotional time for them.

There have been significant changes in the animal’s behaviour since their arrival just before Christmas. They appear to be much more alert and aware of their surroundings.

Suni, the younger male, is still slightly nervous but his confidence is improving daily, thanks to the work of Berry White, a UK rhino expert, and the Ol Pejeta Conservancy staff who are with him 24 hours a day.

The two females, Fatu and Nijan, seem more than ready to take steps into a larger paddock. It has been especially encouraging to see how much more relaxed young Fatu is. She is growing in confidence and spends less time following her mum around.

Sudan, the oldest of the four and originally captured from the wild in the 1970s, is also looking more relaxed in his new surroundings. He is getting loads of exercise – exploring, going outside of his boma and wallowing in his muddy swamp.

The last month has been a steep learning curve for these precious animals but seeing them develop normal behaviours like wallowing in the mud and grazing on grass indicates they are adapting well and have a bright future ahead.

Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Back to Africa, and the Kenya Wildlife Service have also been involved in the initiative. Go to the initiative’s website for videos, photo galleries and blogs on the rhinos: