Two-year-old Najuma will play a pivotal role in an ambitious international breeding programme to help the species recover from the brink of extinction.
The female black rhino, who was transferred from a German zoo, arrived yesterday (December 4) after a 600 mile journey by road and ferry.
When she is old enough Najuma will be paired with three-year-old Makibo at the Into Africa reserve in the hope she can give birth to calves that will eventually be reintroduced into the wild.
The European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) is co-ordinating a breeding programme that will generate the largest ever move of rhinos from Europe to Rwanda and will be accompanied by a comprehensive education, research and protection campaign.
“It was amazing to welcome Najuma and start settling her into the house. Hopefully in the future she will breed with Makibo, their offspring could be crucial to the future of the black rhino,” said Simon Marsh, Animal Collections Manager.
“With the zoo community working together, the idea is to breed black rhinos and to strategically introduce them into the wild to help save the species. We hope to play a part in this comprehensive programme in the future which demonstrates our commitment and the collaboration between European zoos and the Rwanda government to save the species.”
The first captive-born black rhinos will be re-introduced into the Akagera National Park, a 1,222 sq km haven for wildlife near the borders with Tanzania, during 2019.
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