by Work the World

Five eastern black rhinos  have been returned to the Serengeti National Park as part to try and boost Tanzania's rhino population.

The return of the rhinos is all part of a project by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Nduna Foundation and the Wildlife Without Borders program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The hope is that over the next two years, a total of 32 eastern black rhinos will be returned.

"The Serengeti Rhino Repatriation Project is an unprecedented collaboration among African nations and the United States of America for the good of conservation," Michelle Gadd, the program coordinator for the USFWS African rhino conservation program said in the report.

Over the last 100 years, the black rhino population has dropped dramatically. They are now on the critically endangered list with an all time low of 2,300 individuals in the wild. Fewer than 700 eastern black rhinos survive in the wild, with Kenya home to an estimated 600 rhinos and Tanzania hosting fewer than 100. The western black subspecies is feared extinct, partly due to illegal poaching.

Poaching is still a problem in Africa, as reports earlier this year on the BBC suggested. An arrest in Kenya led to a gang who were selling two rhino horns and carrying £5300 in Tanzanian shillings. A report funded by WWF International suggested that a decline in law enforcement is the main reason for the rise in poaching in Africa, so in preparation for the return of the rhinos, increased security measures have been put in place. An elite rhino-protection force trained to safeguard the rhinos and their habitat for years to come is in place and reports from the veterinarians caring for the repatriated 5 rhinos indicate that the animals are adapting well to their new home in the Serengeti.

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