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The first rhino calf of WWF’s black rhino project’s 11th population has been spotted just months after the group’s relocation.
WWF’s Black Rhino Range Expansion Project (BRREP) had successfully moved its 11th population of this critically endangered species to a new location in the north of the country to allow them to breed and bolster their numbers. In what is a mark of the project’s success over the years, some of the rhinos involved in the move were offspring from early project sites.
The move was featured on 60 Minutes, the largest television magazine show in the United States. When the producers Henry Schuster and Rachael Morehouse heard about the new calf, they joked that it should be called Rachael or Henry depending on whether it was a boy or girl. The truth is most BRREP calves are not given names but rather are called by their ear notch numbers – and in this instance the little calf is still going by its mother’s number until it has been sexed and is old enough to be given its own unique notch number.
BRREP has been working since 2003 to increase black rhino numbers by increasing the land available on which they can breed. This is done by moving founder populations of rhino to new areas. The first group of rhinos was moved in 2004.
There are now about 200 black rhino on BRREP sites across South Africa. This represents roughly 10% of the country’s black rhino population.
BRREP is a partnership between WWF, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency with additional support from the Ford Wildlife Foundation.