The birth last week of a female baby rhino at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary in Nakasongola District has brought the total number of rhinos in the country to 13.
This is the first female rhino born in the country in 30 years at the time the animals are on the brink of extinction. At Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary currently are 10 rhinos (excluding the new one) and there are two at the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre in Entebbe.
Rhino Fund Uganda executive director Angie Genade said rhinos were poached to near extinction in 1982/83 and they are now in a reintroduction project to breed and have them returned into national parks. “The sooner they breed the sooner the time for translocation into national parks. With only three females, excluding this baby, and a gestation period of 16 months, you can see how long it will take if they are breeding badly,” Ms Genade said.
Rhinos are endangered because they are poached for their horn. In Asia, there is a belief that rhino horn is a good medication for several ailments and also an aphrodisiac.
The last baby born in the country was on January 2, 2010, and named Justice. He was born to a different mother, Kori. Rhinos take 16 months to bear babies, making it hard to procreate in a short time.