The two are among six critically endangered black rhino relocated from South Africa to a national park in Chad.
Two of the six critically endangered black rhino relocated from South Africa to a national park in Chad in May this year have been found dead.
In a joint statement on Sunday, the governments of South Africa and Chad, and African Parks and South African National Parks (SANParks) confirmed that two black rhino carcasses had been discovered in Zakouma National Park in Chad.
The rhino were among a group of six black rhino translocated to Chad from South Africa in May 2018 to bring the species back to Zakouma National Park after almost a 50-year absence. The rhino had been held in bomas in the national park for two months after their arrival in Chad on May 4, before being released into a temporary sanctuary for another two months to enable their acclimatisation to the environment.
In late August, the sanctuary fence was removed and the rhino were free to roam the wider park where they continued to be monitored constantly. The carcasses of two of the rhino – a bull and a cow – were discovered on October 15.
“We can confirm that these two rhino (a male and a female) were not poached. However, the exact cause of death is not yet known. A specialist veterinarian was dispatched and is now on site in Zakouma National Park in order to conduct a postmortem that will provide more information on the cause of death and assess the situation to advise on further actions. Details of this will be made available once the cause has been confirmed,” the statement said.
The other four animals had been confirmed to still be alive and were being closely monitored. Consultations between the governments of South Africa and Chad, including SANParks and African Parks, were under way to establish the cause of death of the two rhino and to take any necessary precautionary actions to avert a similar occurrence with the remaining four animals.
The translocation took place in terms of a memorandum of understanding between the two countries on the reintroduction of black rhino in Chad, undertaken to restore critical biodiversity and aid the long-term conservation of the species on the continent, the statement said.
African News Agency