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Rare Rhinoceros to be relocated from Africa to Australia in a world-first conservation move
Amid a massive decline in their numbers in their native environment, up to 80 Rhinoceros will be relocated from Africa to Australia over the next four years in a bid to save the species.
The Australian Rhino Project, which believes Australia is a safe haven for the animal, will begin the project in August with the relocation of six white rhinoceros - five females and one bull - at a cost of $70,000 each.
The animals will spend two months in quarantine at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, NSW before a likely transfer to Monarto Zoo's safari park near Adelaide.
Behind the mission is The Australian Rhino Project, founded by Ray Dearlove in 2013. He believes Australia's strong border-security, the lack of comparable poverty and poaching-free history will make it a much safer location for the endangered animal which is under massive pressure from poaching and habitat loss in Africa.
Despite conservation effort, poaching of rhinoceros in Africa increased 9000% in 2014 with their horns being in demand in traditional medicine in China and Vietnam. Their horn is highly valued and can fetch up to $500,000 each, meaning record numbers of the animal are being poached.
Speaking to Australian Geographic, Dearlove explained “it's been a pretty exciting ride for the last three years (but) I think we are close to achieving the first of our objectives.”
Dearglove added that time and money will be a determining factor into the success of the project, as well as issues like breeding success and predators, starvation and intra-specific competition once they are reintroduced to Africa.
Factors like Australia’s strong border-security, the lack of comparable poverty and poaching-free history will make it a much safer option for the rhinos
In 2007, only 13 South African rhinos fell victim to poachers, but despite conservation efforts by 2014, that number had increased by 9000% to 1,215.
The first six rhinoceros will be the test to make sure the project can work. After they are settled, it's hoped another 74 will be relocated in the next four years to, as yet, unnamed locations.
Images: A mother and baby rhinoceros at Monarto Zoo (top) and a rhinocerous at Australia Zoo (below).
8th April 2016 - WTTC ANNOUNCES 2016 TOURISM FOR TOMORROW AWARDS WINNERS
13th October 2015 - AUSTRALIA ZOO WELCOMES ANOTHER BABY RHINOCEROS
16th September 2015 - MONARTO ZOO WELCOMES BIRTH OF SOUTHERN WHITE RHINOCEROS
3rd March 2015 - MOGO ZOO PREPARES ITS REVEAL OF SOUTHERN WHITE RHINOS
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