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North Luangwa - Status of Rhino Reintroduction Efforts

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As one who considers the North Luangwa National Park one of my favorite places on earth, I was wondering recently how the rhino reintroduction project was doing. The Luangwa Valley had nearly 8,000 Rhino in the 1960s and this population was hunted to extinction. This program led by the Frankfurt Zoological Society has reintroduced 20 rhino into the park over the past 6 years. After doing a bit of searching on the net I found their website and reviewed their progress. The area that contains the rhino encompasses 200 sq km and is not open to public viewing at this point in time. Some key points on the current status of the project are:

- 4 calves have been born
- No rhino have been lost to poachers
- Currently there are 20 rhino in total
- Internal dividing fences within the protected area have been removed (These fences were constructed to control interactions and to optimized feed areas)
- South Africa was to donate 5 more rhino to the project in 2009, but lack of funding delayed this project
- Funding from the U.S Wildlife Service, SANParks, Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife and Eastern Cape Parks Board has been secured and 5 rhinos additional rhinos will be moved from S.Africa to the North Luangwa in 2010

The Frankfurt Zoological Society website has some excellent newsletters that give color and flavor into the day to day challenges of this project:

http://www.zgf.de/?id=65&projectId=104&language=en

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