Seven critically endangered black rhinos were recently translocated from South Africa to Zinave National Park in Mozambique. It was the first time that rhino had ever travelled such a distance by road, so an extended stay in boma facilities was required to help prepare them for the long journey ahead.
Entrusted with their care is rhino behavioural specialist from Australia, Jennifer Conaghan, whose primary role is to ensure the black rhinos’ wellbeing, as well as the staff she is working with at Manketti Game Reserve in South Africa. Once the black rhinos have been captured and put into temporary holding facilities, or bomas, which you can learn more about here, Jennifer spends almost every waking minute with them to monitor their health and condition.
The rhinos are kept in the bomas for several months to help them regain condition and recover from the anaesthetic and stress that a capture operation had put them under. This includes ensuring that they are watered and well-fed with a commercial feed consisting of lucerne or grass-based hay.
Home Before The Long Journey
The bomas that the rhinos are kept in are closed off from the ‘outside world’ as their inquisitive and feisty natures can often result in them becoming escape artists. It is very important that the rhinos become accustomed to human voices, unnatural sounds and a different type of food – all of which will be present when the long translocation begins. Getting them used to these stimuli a few months in advance will greatly help to reduce their stress levels on the journey.
This is certainly not Jennifer’s first rodeo, as she was also entrusted with caring for the 19 white rhinos recently translocated to Zinave National Park. Although from the same family, the white and black rhino species could not be more different! Apart from physical differences such as the white rhino being bigger and having a rounded lip as opposed to the smaller, hook-lipped black rhino, Jennifer describes them as ‘a little bit more highly strung, a lot more complicated and not very logical thinkers.’
Thankfully, these tricky beasts have an experienced group of wildlife vets and carers looking after them to make sure that their journey to Zinave National Park is as easy as possible.
Stay tuned to Peace Parks TV to see their journey begin!