The Return of the Rhino

The rare black rhino has been returned to the nation of Chad


The rare black rhino is being returned to the nation of Chad. The last wild rhino was seen in this central African country in the 1970's after decades of poaching drove them to local extinction. In a historic move to aid in the long-term survival of this endangered and heavily threatened species, up to six black rhinos are being reintroduced from South Africa to Chad in May of 2018 bringing this animal back to the country for the first time in over four decades. The translocation is an extraordinary cross-collaboration between the South African Department of Environmental Affairs, the Government of the Republic of Chad, as well as African Parks and South African National Park (SANParks). This is a hopeful story about the revival of a highly threatened species, as well as the trajectory of Zakouma - a park that was once ravaged by poaching and insecurity but has been transformed into a secure and flourishing park since 2010. This international conservation initiative is unprecedented and will see these black rhinos being flown over 3,000 miles to the well-protected Zakouma National Park, managed by African Parks since 2010 in partnership with the Government of Chad.

The Journey

Up to six black rhinos are being moved from South Africa to Zakouma National Park in Chad in a cross-continent journey spanning over 3, 000 miles. This move marks the historic return of this iconic and endangered species to Chad. 

The Location

Today, Zakouma National Park, situated in southern Chad, has become a refuge for some of the most important wildlife populations in Central Africa. The park has had a remarkable and recent transformation after decades of poaching once threatened the park’s very existence. In addition to rhinos becoming locally extinct in 1972, poaching also decimated the park's elephant population. In 2002, Zakouma was home to more than 4,000 elephants – but by 2010 after an eight-year onslaught of poaching for their tusks, only 450 remained. However, the park was transformed when African Parks, in partnership with the Government of Chad, assumed management in 2010. We overhauled law enforcement and worked closely with the local communities to protect the park. 

© Marcus Westberg

The Translocation

The Governments of South Africa and Chad signed a memorandum of understanding in October 2017 to enable the translocation of a founder population of black rhinoceros to Zakouma National Park, reintroducing the species to the nation since its local extinction in the early 1970’s.