Endangered black rhinos travel from Europe to Rwanda

Last updated at 08:28
Three rhinosEPA

Five Eastern black rhinos, born and raised in zoo environments in Europe have been transported to one of the countries where they have been disappearing from.

The rhinos, which include one from a UK zoo, have travelled to a national park in Rwanda, Africa.

Wildlife conservationists say breeding programmes in zoos helps keep the number of animals up, in case the very worst happens and they end up on the brink of extinction.

For the Black Rhino, captive breeding programmes have been so successful that 10% of the entire world population lives in European zoos, which is why they are sending some back to where the animals originally came from.

Rhinos often can't be released into the wild because of the threat of poaching. This is why years of work have been done to make sure that the national park where the five rhinos are heading is safe.

Want to know more about their journey? Here is what happened to one of the rhinos - four-year-old Olmoti:

Meet Olmoti
Olmoti-rhinoEPA
This is four-year-old Olmoti

Four-year-old Olmoti was actually born in Zurich zoo in Germany, but her and her mum Samira, who is now 17, moved to Flamingo land in Yorkshire. She has been living there since 2015.

Olmoti and Samira come from generations of rhinos which have been born in captivity.

Olmoti flies to Czech Republic
Eastern black rhino in a crateEPA
The rhinos have to get used to being in a crate before making the long journey

The first stage of her journey Olmoti leaves Yorkshire and travels to the Czech Republic to join three rhinos which have been living there, and one male rhino that has travelled from Denmark.

Once there, Olmoti is given crate training so she gets used to stepping in and out of a crate. This is going to be very important for the long journey ahead and hopefully cause her less stress.

The rhinos travel to Rwanda
Rhino crates are loaded onto a planeEPA / OLIVER LE QUE/
The crates have to be loaded onto a cargo plane

A few months after arriving in the Czech Republic, Olmoti and the other rhinos are ready to head to Rwanda.

They go into crates, the crates are lifted onto trucks which travel to the airport. They are then loaded onto cargo planes and flown to Kigali in Rwanda. Zookeepers and a vet travel with the rhinos to make sure they are looked after properly.

From the airport it is a three hour drive to Akagera National Park in Rwanda. Overall, their transportation to Akagera Park from Czech Republic will have taken around 30 hours!

Olmoti and the four other rhinos arrive at their new home
Rhino in enclosureScott Ramsey / African parks
One of the rhinos in an enclosure called a boma

When the five rhinos arrived at Akagera National Park they were put into a temporary holding area called a boma. They will stay here the first few months.

The rhinos have been born in captivity where they have always been given food so they need to be slowly introduced to the wild.

They will be given access to bigger and bigger areas over time so they can get used to the space and learn how to fend for themselves.

After they are set free completely, the rangers will still be able to track them and keep an eye on them.

What's next for Olmoti and the others?
Rhinos Olmoti and JasmiriEPA
It's been a long journey for rhinos Olmoti and Jasmiri

There are already wild Eastern black rhinos at Akagera National park so conservationists hope that within a couple of years time, they will meet and mate and produce more rhinos!

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