Five critically endangered eastern black rhinos from wildlife parks in three European countries have been transported to Rwanda's Akagera National Park.
Two male and three female eastern black rhinoceroses were released into protective enclosures on Monday and will eventually be introduced into open plains to increase the genetic diversity of the park's rhino population.
The eastern black rhino is in critical danger of extinction with about 1,000 remaining in the wild, the International Union for Conservation of Nature says.
The five rhinos from European zoos and safari parks will bring to 20 the number of eastern black rhinos in Akagera Park after a number of the rhinos were delivered from South Africa in 2017.
More than 50 black rhinos once lived in Akagera's savannah habitat, which is considered excellent for black rhinos, but their numbers declined due to wide-scale poaching and the last confirmed sighting of a rhino was in 2007.
"This unique achievement represents the culmination of an unprecedented international effort to improve the survival prospects of a critically endangered rhino subspecies in the wild. Their arrival also marks an important step in Akagera's ongoing revitalization, and one that underscores the country's commitment to conservation," Jes Gruner, Akagera Park manager, said.
African rhinos remain under intense pressure from poachers who kill them to meet demand for their horns in illegal markets, primarily in Vietnam and China.
Rwanda is actively promoting tourism as part of its recovery from the genocide 25 years ago, in which some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed.
The five eastern black rhinos were came from the Safari Park Dvur Kralove in the Czech Republic, Flamingo Land in Britain and Ree Park Safari in Denmark.
Australian Associated Press