South Africa gives Uganda two black rhinos

THE South African government has offered two black rhinos to help Uganda create its breeding population.

The Government and the Uganda Wildlife Authority are preparing for the translocation of the rhinos to Uganda, said Justus Tindigarukayo, the assistant commissioner in-charge of wildlife in the tourism ministry.

I consider this as a break-through because Uganda does not have black rhinos, he added.

The offer by the South African Government will help re-introduce the endangered species into the national parks.

We will release both species of rhinos into the wilderness once we have viable populations, said Tindigarukayo during the launch of a review of the national wildlife policies in Kampala recently.

Black and the white rhinos became extinct in the early 1980s due political instability and the rampant trade in their horns, which are believed to be aphrodisiac especially in China.

The original white rhinos were of the northern sub-species similar to the ones in the Garamba National Park in the DRC, which are estimated at less than 20.

In 2001, Uganda secured a pair of white rhinos (Kabira and Sherino) from Kenya that are being kept at the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre, formerly the Entebbe Zoo.

Two years ago, the Uganda Wildlife Authority and the Rhino Fund Uganda, an NGO that aids the return of rhinos, imported four rhinos from Kenya and two from the US, which are being kept at the Ziwa Ranch in Nakasongola.

Gagawala Wambuzi, the trade state minister, called for the establishment of wildlife ranches of animals like crocodiles, rhinos and lions.

We have to farm wildlife and improve the livelihood of communities. That is why we are reviewing the wildlife policy.

Gagawala said the communities should be educated on the value of wildlife, adding that rhino rearing brings in more revenue than cattle keeping.
In Kenya, ranchers sell each rhino at $100,000 (about sh175m).

This has boosted the income of livestock keepers who manage wild animals outside the game parks.