SA will send 6 black rhinos to Chad

2017-10-09 12:43 - Kavitha Pillay
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Cape Town - Environmental Ministers from South Africa and the Republic of Chad have signed a Memorandum which allows for the translocation of six black rhino from SA to Chad as part of an initiative to reintroduce rhino in the country.

The Minister of Environmental Affairs, Dr Edna Molewa, and the Minister of Environment and Fisheries of the Republic of Chad, Dr Ahmat Mbodou Mahamat, signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the field of Biodiversity Conservation and Management in Pretoria on Sunday, 8 October.

“We are taking another significant step forward towards realising the initial pledge that originated four years ago by President Zuma to President Idris Deby of translocating and re-introducing black rhinoceros to the Republic of Chad. The fulfillment of this will lay a sound foundation for cooperation between our countries,” says Molewa.

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Before the translocation

According to DEA, a team of experts from South Africa will visit Chad to assess the habitat, security and management suitability and associated ecological parameters as well as infrastructural readiness prior to the translocation of black rhinos to Zakouma National Park from South Africa, following which applicable logistical arrangements will also be put in place.

"This builds on a feasibility study of the proposed translocation undertaken by the IUCN SSC African Rhino Specialist Group in 2015," says DEA. Chad signed an agreement with African Parks Network (APN) which allows APN to manage the country’s national parks.

"The MoU on Cooperation on the Reintroduction of Black Rhinoceros outlines broad areas of co-operation between the Governments Chad and South Africa," says DEA, adding that it focuses on the following:

  • Establishing viable and secure populations through the reintroduction of black rhinoceros in the Republic of Chad;
  • Sourcing sustainable financial resources to secure and manage such rhinoceros populations;
  • Building capacity and exchanging expertise in the management of rhinoceros in the field of rhinoceros security, veterinary matters, monitoring and research; and
  • Establishing bilateral custodianship arrangements for rhinoceros translocated between the Parties.

Molewa says that the signing of the two agreements "signifies that the relationship between our two countries on biodiversity and conservation is growing from strength to strength."

The signing follows the meeting between Minister Molewa and then Minister of Environment and Fisheries in Chad, Brah Mahamat, on the sidelines of the 17th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora in Johannesburg in 2016.

"It was resolved at the meeting in 2016 that the two countries would develop two MoUs - one on Biodiversity Conservation and Management and another on Rhino Management," says the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA).

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The talks between the ministers on Sunday focus on environment-related matters, including assistance in the fight against poaching, safeguarding of Lake Chad, Bio-prospecting of flora and training of youth in this area, the Management of Protected Areas as well as the management of alien and invasive species and the development of aquaculture.

The meeting "cemented ties between the two countries that had been established during the liberation struggle," says DEA.

Minister Molewa described the talks and the signing of the two Agreements as the deepening of the already good bilateral relations that exist between South Africa and Chad, with special focus on consolidation of economic cooperation and other areas of mutual interest.

Purpose of MoU

The purpose of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the field of Biodiversity Conservation and Management is to facilitate cooperation in biodiversity conservation and management between the parties.

DEA says that the areas of cooperation include:

  • Promotion of sustainable use of biodiversity as an integral part of conservation of species and ecosystems,
  • Implementation of CITES, United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD), Ramsar Convention, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and other relevant international, regional, sub-regional and bilateral binding Multi-lateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs),
  • Management of alien invasive species,
  • Compliance with domestic or policy frameworks and applicable Conventions,
  • Capacity building in all areas of cooperation in this MoU,
  • Technology use, transfer and development in the management, conservation and protection of biodiversity, and
  • Protected areas management.

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