By Nondumiso Zwane
The process of relocating rhinos will have to wait until next year as temperatures are not favourable, Kruger National Park (KNP) spokesperson William Mabasa said yesterday.
“We will continue again next year when temperatures are much cooler,” Mabasa said.
He said about 70 rhinos had so far been relocated to safer parts of the KNP out of the 500 they plan on relocating.
The SA National Parks said in October that white rhino relocations in KNP had begun. The Cabinet announced in August that it wants to curb poaching by relocating the animals to safer areas.
As of November, the number of rhinos poached in South Africa was at 1020.
Following a meeting of the board of South African National Parks (SANParks) last week, SANParks announced the successful completion of the first phase of the strategic rhino translocation programme.
“The focus of the first phase has been on the capture and translocation of rhino from areas of high poaching activity to the safer areas within the park. These are areas where an additional deployment of resources and technology provides a more secure environment for the rhino,” Mabasa said.
Some of the rhinos have been fitted with tracking devices and have been successfully tracked subsequent to their release. Based on observations it has been reported that the translocated rhinos have integrated well with the resident populations in the areas to which they have been moved and none have been poached.
SANParks board chairperson Kuseni Dlamini said it was early days but initial reports were that the rhino translocated within the park were safe and had settled well.
“As one element among others in our multifaceted strategy to combat rhino poaching, we are greatly encouraged by the initial outcomes. The capture and translocation of these rhino went off without a hitch and we would like to congratulate our game capture team for the professional manner in which they have conducted this operation,” Dlamini said.
Apart from the rhino moved within the park, there had also been a number of rhino moved to other national parks and reserves, where better security could be provided.