The Australian Rhino Project has today announced the achievement of a major milestone in the organisation’s mission to build an insurance population of rhinos outside of Africa.
The Australian Rhino Project has signed an agreement with Thaba Manzi Wildlife Sanctuary in South Africa to manage the selection and quarantining of rhinos for the project, it announced in a press release.
The Australian Rhino Project has been working alongside the team at Thaba Manzi for several years and have now reached an agreement for this critical component of the project.
On the signing of this agreement, Chairman of the Australian Rhino Project, Allan Davies, said, “We are delighted to have signed this agreement with Thaba Manzi to select and quarantine rhinos for the Australian Rhino Project.
“We have worked for many years to carefully select a partner who demonstrated exceptional care for rhinos and who focused on helping protect rhinos for future generations.
“Hans Kooy, Senta Sonnendecker and their team at Thaba Manzi are not only an accredited wildlife sanctuary but are also home to a rhino orphanage. The Thaba Manzi team have decades of experience in the conservation and management of wildlife, especially rhinos and have worked with many well-respected organisations in the care and management of wildlife.”
Hans Kooy, founder and director of Thaba Manzi said, “Over the past few years, we have spent time getting to know the team from the Australian Rhino Project and are now very pleased to be working directly with them on this ambitious project.
“As the situation in South Africa with regards to rhino poaching continues to worsen, we believe that creating insurance populations around the world are critical to ensure the survival of the species.”
The initial ten rhinos will be selected from a crash of rhinos that are being cared for by Hans Kooy and his team. The process for gaining export permits has commenced.
The relocation of the rhinos requires many stages of approvals and permits, as well as the need for the rhinos to be held for a period of time in New Zealand prior to their arrival due to biosecurity and quarantine requirements of the Australian Government.
The threat towards rhinos continues to grow as the population declines year on year with the poaching rate exceeding the birth rate. The tipping point for the African rhinoceros’ population has been reached and experts predict rhinos could be extinct in the wild by 2024, if drastic measures are not taken.
The Australian Rhino Project together with Zoos South Australia, Taronga Conservation Society and Orana Wildlife Park are committed to contributing towards saving rhinos from extinction as part of an international conservation effort.
The Australian Rhino Project is a registered Australian charity and relies on fundraising and partner organisation support to achieve its objective of establishing a rhino population in Australia. Over the next 12 months, the organisation is seeking to fundraise $1.4 million to pay for flights, quarantine costs, animal husbandry, veterinarian costs and transport expenses.
To show your support for the project, you can donate at www.theaustralianrhinoproject.org.