This morning, a new sun rises over Mozambique as the first chapter of a historic journey that will aid the long-term survival of a near-threatened species is drawing to a close. This week, Peace Parks TV has followed one of the most remarkable conservation projects – the translocation of 19 white rhinos.

After months of planning, support and finally execution, these rhinos have made the journey from South Africa to Zinave National Park in Mozambique, which will see the first founder population of white rhinos in a Mozambican national park in over four decades. This is all thanks to the joint forces of Exxaro Resources, Mozambique’s National Administration for Conservation Areas (ANAC) and Peace Parks Foundation, a partnership that has seen the impossible made possible.

After the long journey from South Africa to Maputo National Park, the rhinos have been resting in a temporary holding facility before the final leg of the translocation journey begins. Pleased with the health and condition of the rhinos, the team of experienced wildlife veterinarians and translocation experts begin the darting and capture process for the last time. You can watch all that that entails here.

Soon, the 19 rhinos are once again loaded onto the trucks as they depart for their new home, and what a magnificent home it is! It may be hard to believe, but due to years of conflict and the unsustainable use of natural resources, the wildlife populations in the now thriving Zinave National Park were once decimated, so much so that not even a bird’s call could be heard.  In 2015, a long-term co-management agreement between Peace Parks Foundation and Mozambique’s National Administration for Conservation Areas (ANAC), (ANAC) was established to develop the park.

Since then, an intensive rewilding programme has reintroduced more than 2 300 wild animals into Zinave National Park, transforming it into a secure and flourishing protected area. The story of reintroducing this keystone species into Zinave is one of hope, allowing future generations to benefit from their natural heritage.

Peace Parks Foundation is incredibly proud of everyone who put in so much effort to make this historic event possible, from the building of specialised transportation crates and construction of temporary holding facilities to keep the rhinos safe to undergoing the challenging task of darting and loading the animals into crates, transporting them across borders, and of course all of the paperwork and planning that goes into an operation of this scale. None of this would have been possible without teamwork of the highest level.

Also, a note of thanks to Conservation Solutions, Mozambique Wildlife Alliance, South Africa’s Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) and the Mozambique Ministry of Land and the Environment, with additional funding provided by the German Postcode Lottery and MAVA Foundation.

Remember to stay tuned to Peace Parks TV tomorrow to see how the near-threatened species have settled into their new home, and even more excitingly, welcome a new little member!