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Zim 'airlift' rhino gives birth in Botswana

19 September 2015, 15:30News24 Correspondent

Zimbabwe - One of the eight black rhino airlifted from southern Zimbabwe to Botswana has given birth, a conservation trust has announced.

The Malilangwe Trust, which donated the endangered animals under a government-to-government programme, posted a photo of the mother rhino and her calf to its Facebook page.

The rhino were airlifted from the town of Chiredzi to Botswana's Okavango Delta in June in two batches.

"What is really pleasing is that the condition of almost all the released animals is fairly good and they have adapted to the local vegetation very well," Malilangwe said this week.

The new mother was pregnant at the time of the airlift. The gestation period for black rhino is approximately 16 months.

The trust said at the time of the translocation that the rhino were part of a population that was first brought to the reserve in Zimbabwe in 1998 from Kwazulu-Natal.

Regular meetings

"The rhino have lived up to their sedentary trait but have had regular meetings with other black rhinos at night," the Malilangwe Trust said in its update on the Zimbabwean rhinos moved to Botswana.

"The bush is now at its driest, but there are a lot of flowers, flower buds and leaf buds being formed [on some plants] which they are gobbling up," it added.

Rhinos are also being moved from South Africa to Botswana, where poaching rates are low.

New figures obtained on Friday for rhino losses in Zimbabwe so far this year show that they are much higher than previously reported.

More than 20 are now known to have been poached, with at least nine rhino lost from the Save Valley Conservancy alone.

There are significant losses in at least one other protected area, conservationists have told News24.

In the most recently reported poaching case in Zimbabwe, a rhino was killed in the Midlands Conservancy last week.

- News24


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