African Parks, a concessionaire of Liwonde National Park, says translocation of 17 black rhinos from KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, will enhance the size and genetic health of the rhino population in the country.
Speaking on Tuesday during the release of the rhinos into the park, African Parks chief executive officer Peter Fearnhead said rhinos thrive where there is a minimum size to breed fast.
He said: “The translocation follows a memorandum of understanding between Malawi and South Africa for a bilateral custodianship arrangement aimed at securing a future for this critically endangered species while helping to restore the park.
“Since we assumed management of the park in 2015, poaching has intensely reduced with not a single loss of high-value species in three years.”
Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Bintony Kutsaira, who witnessed the translocation exercise, warned poachers that government will do everything to protect rhinos which were almost extinct in the park.
“Liwonde National Park has been transformed through African Parks management in partnership with Department of Parks and Wildlife and local communities since 2003.
“Since then, there has been a reduction in poaching and human-wildlife conflict,” he said.
The translocation was funded by Stichting Natura Africae, Vale Logistics and Save the Rhino International, among others.
The release of the first cross-border translocation of black rhinos was also overseen by World Wild Fund’s Black Rhino Range Expansion Project.