PRAGUE, Czech Republic, Dec. 16 (UPI) — A Czech zoo plans to transfer four northern white rhinoceros to the African bush as part of an effort to increase the subspecies’ numbers in the wild.
The rhinos are scheduled to leave the Dvur Kralove Zoo Saturday, the Czech News Agency reported. They are destined for a Kenyan reserve.
Only eight northern white rhinoceros are in zoos — six in Dvur Kralove and two in the San Diego Zoo. The subspecies is close to extinction in the wild.
A group of protesters organized by Safari Archa 2007 say the rhinos should remain where they are. Roman Komeda, the group’s director, said they will be vulnerable to disease in Africa because they were born in captivity.
Komeda also said December is not the right time to transfer an animal from northern Europe to the tropics.
“The swings of temperature between the Czech Republic and Kenya will be enormous,” Komeda said. “This puts the animal lives at stake. If only someone reasonable decided that the transport be postponed for next spring or summer, but other pressures seem to be exerted.”
Copyright 2009 by United Press International