If you have been reading this blog you will know that conservationists all over the world have been battling local extinction by re-introducing or even rewilding species missing from a particular area.
In California, over and underpasses have been or are being built to prevent local extinction of cougars. The most famous is Liberty Canyon. That passage over the 101 Freeway is designed to protect cougars from inbreeding and eventual local extinction. Activists in South America have taken a leaf from that book. They have also re-introduced “re-wilded” jaguars into areas from which they disappeared decades ago.
Now comes news that South Africa has provided 19 rhinos to Mozambique, which lost its last white rhino about 40 years ago. The rhinos are both black rhinos and white rhinos, the two species found in Africa and are the vanguard of at least 40 to be relocated.
The rhinoceros is one of the largest surviving land mammals. Once very common it is estimated that fewer than 30,000 remain in the world. The five or six remaining species of rhinceros are found in east and south Africa, India, Sumatra and Java. Africa is home to black and white rhinos (possibly two distinct species of white rhinos) while India and the two islands have separate species of their own. The distinctive horn, by the way, is not bone but is made up of keratin, a protein related to hair.
The new home for the rhinos is Zinave National Park in Mozambique. At 400, 000 hectares, about one million acres it is already home to about 2000 relocated animals. The ambitious development is being organized by Peace Parks Foundation and is a major effort to revitalize wildlife in a multi-national area. Sadly, a great deal of effort has to go to preventing poaching and illegal logging in the protected areas.