The heavyweight task of transferring four critically endangered black rhinos involves months of detailed planning and a moving day of precision.
Staff from the award-winning Yorkshire Wildlife Park performed the exchange yesterday (Wednesday) that involved a team of experts to ensure the animals had a smooth transition to their new homes.
The park said goodbye to three-year-olds Hodari and Dayo while welcoming Jasper and Makibo from German Zoos as part of a global breeding programme.
The new males had a safe journey and are settling into the Into African Reserve before making their first public appearances over Easter at the park, at Branton, near Doncaster.
“Moving homes is never easy but when it involves black rhinos trading places then the planning has to be perfect.” said Simon Marsh of Yorkshire Wildlife Park.
“The organisation had to be top class to make sure the animals were transported in comfort but our staff are very experienced at ensuring these moves are done professionally and calmly. The Rangers who look after Hodari and Dayo have spent a long time getting them prepared for the move.”
“Hodari and Dayo have been very popular and we have loved having them, but I’m sure Jasper and Makibo will be every bit as popular.”
“They will have time to settle into their new surroundings and will hopefully be running around the reserve over Easter.”
The big move started on Tuesday with Jasper and Makibo leaving Germany at 7am for the land journey to Rotterdam and a ferry crossing to Hull.
They were safely introduced to their new home at the park and Hodari and Dayo were taken on the return journey to a Park in the Netherlands.
Yorkshire Wildlife Park will welcome a female black rhino, Najuma, at some point next year to pair with Makibo and hopefully in the future have a calf to continue the global conservation programme to save black rhinos from extinction.
The Black rhino population in Africa had declined to fewer than 3,000 individuals after a devastating period of poaching.
Numbers are edging back up thanks to conservation efforts, but poaching remains an ever-present threat.
The Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation funds anti-poaching patrols to protect rhinos in the wild and also supports facilities which care for orphaned rhino calves after their mothers have been tragically killed for their horn.
The Foundation was founded in 2010 as a dynamic catalyst for inspiring people to support conservation and welfare.
The Foundation also works with leading conservation organisations around the world to create better prospects for other endangered animals such as Amur tigers, Amur leopards, polar bears, and giraffes.