Original Rhinos Nowhere


UGANDA will not get back the original white rhinos that became extinct about two decades ago. Yvonne Verkaik, the coordinator of Rhino Fund Uganda, told The New Vision on Saturday that only 50 of the northern white rhinos, which used to stay in Uganda, are left globally.

Garama Game Park in the DR Congo has 35 of the rhinos and the rest are kept in Zoos of San Diego in USA and another in Czech Republic. Verkaik said the northern and southern rhinos are sub species of white rhinos.

While, northern white rhinos used to roam northern Uganda, DR Congo, Sudan, Chad and Central Africa Republic, southern white rhinos inhabited Kenya, Tanzania southern Africa, and said, the Rhino Fund Uganda had found it difficult to get rhinos from DR Congo because of politics and the prevailing insecurit.

Efforts to get the rhinos from San Diego and the Czech were almost fruitless, she said. She said conservationists in the US and Europe still believe the rhinos will not be safe in Uganda. Two white rhinos in the Czech Republic were obtained from Uganda during Idi Amin's regime.

We are still negotiating and hope that they will change their mind, Verkaik said. She said Uganda had the white rhinos in Ajai wildlife reserve, which was connected to Garama by a game corridor.

The black rhinos in Kidepo National Park were poached for mainly meat during the 1970s and early 80s drove the animals to extinction, Verkaik said. The last white rhino was seen in Uganda in 1982.