Sam de Belle

Rhino set for incredible journey to Rwanda

Posted: 13th November, 2018

Tomorrow, 14 November 2018, one of Flamingo Land’s eastern black rhinos, Olmoti, will start an amazing journey which will end with her being released into the Akagera National Park in Rwanda, Africa.

In the first leg of the journey, Olmoti will be moved to Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic, where she will meet four other rhinos who will be travelling with her to Rwanda. These rhinos, who were all born in Europe, have been carefully chosen to add much-needed genetic diversity into the Critically Endangered rhino population. The whole process, including a staged release in Rwanda, is expected to take up to a year.

Ross Snipp, Flamingo Land’s zoo manager, said: “Olmoti doesn’t know it yet, but she is about to become one of the most important black rhino in Africa.”

Gordon Gibb, Flamingo Land’s owner, explained: “The release of Olmoti, our beloved rhino, into the wilds of Rwanda is the culmination of my life’s work and that of our animal collection at Flamingo Land.

“Using our facility as a safe sanctuary to breed critically endangered animals is something we have been doing for decades.

“Our inspiration has always been to return offspring back to the wild and to replenish dwindling world populations. This is the only way of preventing the extinction of this majestic species.”

In the wild, the eastern black rhino can only be found in a handful of protected locations across Africa. Akagera National Park covers 112 hectares and is home to giraffe, lion, zebra and elephants. Here poaching has decreased by 97% in three years thanks to a large team of rangers and sophisticated security measures.

This project is only possible because of collaboration between representatives from Flamingo Land, the Czech Republic, Rwanda, the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) and the European stud book (EEP).

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