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Rwanda Gets 30 White Rhinos But Could Host 1,000

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Rwanda has received a park of 30 white rhinos from south Africa in the world’s largest single translocation.

According to details Rwanda could host a total of 1000 white rhinos for genetic pooling purposes and safety.

“We’re starting with 30, but this could grow – Akagera could be a home for easily 500 or 1,000 white rhino in the future,” said Jes Gruner, of conservation organisation African Parks who oversaw the largest single rhino translocation in history over the weekend.

The translocation involved – 19 females and 11 males, a mix of adults and sub-adults. They were driven from Phinda private game reserve in South Africa’s Munyawana conservancy, flown from Durban to Kigali, then transported by road to Akagera, completing a 40-hour journey of more than 3,400km – a massive logistical undertaking.

“There’s plenty of habitat around the continent, but not necessarily safe habitat. The government of Rwanda has shown their seriousness in conservation and protection in the last 15 to 20 years. It’s been proven – with the reintroduction of 18 black rhinos in 2017 and five more from zoos in Europe – that we can keep them safe. To date, no rhino has been poached, and the growth rate has been positive. That sets the mark for the white rhinos,” said Jes Gruner.

White rhinos are on the verge of extinction because of poaching and loss of habitat. Down to an estimated 18,000 animals across Africa, white rhinos are classified by the IUCN as near threatened, with numbers in decline largely due to poaching, driven by demand for their horns.

Rwanda is believed to be a safe place that would ensure survival and reproduction of these jungle giants. In a bid to secure the future of the near threatened species, 30 animals have been driven, flown and finally re-homed in Akagera national park.

They were flown into Rwanda aboard a Boeing 747. It is hoped Akagera will become a new breeding stronghold to support the long-term survival of the species.

“All the rhinos were slightly sedated to keep them calm and not aggressive or trying to get out of the crates,” said Jes Gruner.

“The rhinos weren’t sedated on the plane in the sense they were totally lying down, as that’s bad for their sternums. But they were partly drugged, so they could still stand up and keep their bodily functions normal, but enough to keep them calm and stable,” Gruner said.

The project is a collaboration between African Parks, the Rwandan government’s Rwanda Development Board and safari company &Beyond, with funding from the Howard G Buffett Foundation. Akagera has been managed by African Parks and the Rwanda Development Board since 2010, with previous reintroductions of lions in 2015 and black rhinos in 2017 and 2019.

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Environment

Rare African Elephant Twins Born in Northern Kenya

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For the first time in since 2006, incredibly rare African elephant twins have been born at Samburu national park a reserve in northern Kenya.

It is very rare for elephants to produce twins and according to scientists, twins form only 1% of all elephant births, as a mother does not usually have enough milk for two calves.

The birth of elephant twins came as a surprise to research and protection organisation Save the Elephants which monitors the family of elephants in the park.

Elephants have only a 1% chance of having twins, with most twin births occurring in wild African elephants, according to the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad.

The giant and intelligent mammals can have about four to five babies in their lifetime, and some species of elephants can be pregnant for a whopping 22 months.

The elephant world’s largest land animal, whose scientific name is elephas maximus, these ponderous pachyderms can grow can grow to more than 13 feet in height and weigh 7 tons.

Elephants are more than just genial giants; they are vital to the planet.

There is a day dedicated to their recognition – World Elephant Day on Aug.12, which is dedicated to the preservation and protection of the world’s elephants.

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Environment

Pacific Ocean Tonga Volcano Erupts

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The Australian Volcanic Ash Observation Centre has reported a major eruption of a volcano in Tonga, in the Pacific Ocean, north of New Zealand.

According to this monitoring centre, the most recent eruption of the volcano was recorded at 22:10 on Monday.

The information is corroborated by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, which revealed that it recorded “big waves” in the region, presumably related to the volcano’s activity in the South Pacific.

The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai undersea volcano erupted on Friday, triggering a tsunami that affected the Pacific from Japan to Peru and the United States of America.

“The tsunami had a huge impact on the northern coast of Nuku’alofa”, the capital of Tonga, but there are no reports of casualties in the archipelago, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Sunday.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Society estimates that at least 80,000 people have been affected in the archipelago.

The atmosphere in the region is covered with volcanic ash, there have been power cuts and communications failures, so New Zealand has announced the dispatch of a plane to assess the damage.

The impact of the eruption and the tsunami were felt globally, with different scales of intensity.

In Peru, two women died on a beach, because of “abnormal waves” caused by the volcano, more than 10,000 kilometers away.

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Environment

Rwanda Says Increased Sulphur In Air Not Linked To Nyiragongo Volcano

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Rwanda’s border district of Rubavu is currently suffocating with high levels of sulphur pollution in the air but government says it is not linked to the ongoing Nyiragongo volcanic activity.

Early this week, the Volcanic Observatory of Goma reported that Nyiragongo volcano was exiting various fumes, particulates and seismic activity causing panic in zones surrounding the mountain.

Across the border, the Rwanda Environment Management Authority deployed a team to assess the quality of the air in Rubavu District and the water quality of Lake Kivu.

This agency installed 6 additional mobile air quality monitoring units and took numerous samples from Lake Kivu. The findings indicate that water quality of Lake Kivu remains stable with no observable changes from the long term average.

Measurements show that the quality of the air in Rubavu District is currently unhealthy, with increased levels of particulate matter (PM 2.5) being recorded over the last three days.

While the air quality has worsened in recent days, this is likely the result of human activity such as pollution from motorised transport and wood and charcoal burning rather than volcanic activity, which would have led to increased levels of sulfur dioxide (SO2).

“Due to the poor air quality, residents in Rubavu District are encouraged to continue wearing masks and limit outdoor physical activity where possible,” REMA said in a statement.

 

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