The Governments of the Republic of South Africa, Republic of Chad, African Parks and SANParks confirm that an additional two black rhino carcasses have been discovered in Zakouma National Park in Chad, bringing the total mortalities to four, of the six that were reintroduced in May this year. We can confirm that none of these rhinos were poached.    

Post-mortems have been conducted on the rhino carcasses and various samples of blood, tissue and fecal matter were sent to specialist pathology laboratories in South Africa. Histopathological results thus far have not indicated infectious diseases and plant toxicity as cause of death. Serological evidence has however indicated exposure to trypanosomes, a blood-borne parasite transmitted by tsetse flies, but at this stage it is not suspected to be the cause of the mortalities. Low fat reserves suggest that maladaptation by the rhinos to their new environment is the likely underlying cause, although tests to be undertaken on brain and spinal fluid may shed additional light on the exact cause of deaths.   

On the advice of a team of veterinarians experienced in working with black rhinos, the remaining two animals are being recaptured and placed in holding facilities in order to facilitate closer management. To this end, a SANParks veterinarian was dispatched to Zakouma National Park to assist with the process, and one rhino has already been recaptured and is doing well in their enclosure.        

Engagements between the Governments of the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of Chad, including SANParks and African Parks remain active as efforts continue to be made to establish clarity around the exact cause of deaths of the four rhinos, and to safeguard the remaining two animals. 

For media inquiries contact:

South Africa’s Dept of Environmental Affairs: Albi Modise on +27 83 490 2871

African Parks: Fran Read on +27 82 383 7558

Issued by South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs, the Government of the Republic of Chad, African Parks and SANParks

Read the French press release