The Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) has re-secured two white rhinos that had strayed out of Mosi Oa Tunya National Park in Livingstone and went as far as Kazungula district.
The two female rhinos aged seven and five years old are Lubinda and Lucy respectively.
Ministry of Tourism and Arts Public Relations Officer Sakabilo Kalembwe said DNPW made several attempts to herd them back the rhinos to the park but continued to drift further away from the park into apparent hot poaching spots in Katombora and Kazungula.
“It was at this moment when the scale of threats of poaching and safety of the animals became more apparent that the department and other well-wishers put resources together to have the elusive rhinos safely returned to the park,” he said.
“The Wildlife Veterinary Unit of DNPW was called in from Chilanga to quickly capture the rhinos and translocate them back to the park. The unit expertly immobilized the rhinos, loaded them on truck and transported them back into the park where they were released.”
Mr. Kalembwe stated that the two have since joined the other rhinos in the park.
He disclosed that Mosi Oa Tunya National Park has a total of 10 white rhinos.
He narrated that during their stray, the rhinos were constantly monitored and guarded by the Wildlife Police Officers (WPO) of the rhino monitoring team.
“It is not clear why the rhinos left the park but the diminished natural food resources (due to drought/climate change) in the park cannot be ruled out despite the provision of supplementary food like hay and Lucerne,” he said.
“The Department is encouraged by the vigilance and concerns raised by the public to have the animals returned back in the safety of the National Park. DNPW would also like to thank the well-wishers that came forth at short notice to provide their support.”