Rhinos in Congo

The last surviving population of wild Northern white rhinos in the world were located in Garamba National Park, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

In January 2005, the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) approved a two-part plan for the translocation of five northern white rhino from Garamba National Park to a wildlife sanctuary in Kenya. The second part commits the government and its international partners to increase conservation efforts in Garamba, so that the northern white rhinos can be returned when it is safe again The translocation did not occur, due to the death of the remaining animals.

In August 2005, ground and aerial surveys conducted under the direction of African Parks Foundation and the African Rhino Specialist Group (ARSG) had only found four animals, a solitary adult male and a group of one adult male and two adult females. In June 2008, it was reported that the species may have gone extinct in the wild, since none of these four known remaining individuals had been seen since 2006

Poachers kill last four wild northern white rhino

The last four northern white rhinoceros remaining in the wild are feared to have been killed for their horns by poachers and are now believed to be extinct in the wild. Only a few are left in captivity but they are difficult to breed and the number is so low that the species is regarded as biologically unviable.

The outlook for other types of rhino, including the endangered African black rhino, was more optimistic yesterday however. Figures released by the IUCN, the international conservation body that assesses threats to wildlife, showed that the number of wild rhinos had increased to its highest level for decades.

The northern white rhino, Ceratotherium simum cottoni, has been struggling for suvival since the 1970s, when numbers dropped from about 500 to 15. A slight recovery was recorded in 2003 when 30 were counted but by 2006 only four were left. All of them were recorded in the Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo but war and civil unrest in the region has led to an increase in poachers.

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