A MAJOR black rhino translocation to communal conservancies in Kunene Region started yesterday but the Ministry of Environment would not disclose how many animals would be given to these rural conservation projects.
Ben Beytell, the Director of Parks and Wildlife Management in the Ministry, told The Namibian that they would also not disclose which conservancies in the region were receiving black rhinos.
He said this was for security reasons.
“If poachers hear there are rhino in a certain conservancies they can just go and ambush them at waterholes,” said Beytell.
The translocation will continue to the end of this month and is funded by the Millennium Challenge Account-Namibia (MCA-Namibia) and the World Wildlife Fund.
Sources said this is the biggest black rhino translocation ever in Namibia.
Beytell said the animals would be caught in the Palmwag Concession area and fitted with transmitters.
The conservancies, the Save the Rhino Trust (STR) and Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRNDC) will monitor the welfare of the rhinos.
The Kunene Region’s desert-adapted black rhinos are the largest free-roaming population of black rhinos in the world.
The black rhino is a specially protected species in Namibia. Due to conservation efforts, Namibia’s black rhino population has increased from only 60 animals in the early 1980s to 146 at the last count in 2006.