South Sudan Launches Nationwide Search For Rhinos

Wildlife Officers in Torit. [File]The search for the species is to increase protection of the species from total extinction as the ministry promises to report to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITIES) of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Speaking to Journalists on Monday, Eastern Equatoria State’s (EES) Wildlife Conservation, Environment and Tourism Minister Hon. George Echome Ekeno said the national government through their state ministries has commenced a nationwide hunt for the existence of Rhinos in the country.

“We have mounted both aerial and ground search for Rhinos in our national Game Parks and Game reserves,” said the minister.

He said that the government of South Sudan wants to establish the existence of Rhinos that once lived in the national parks before the two decades of war but are no longer seen in the country.

Though he could not establish the statistics of the animals prior to its extinction, the minister noted Rhino species have been last spotted in late 1990s.

“The extinct species existed in Nimule, Bandingilo, Boma, the then Southern National Game Park and Kidepo Valley Game reserve,” he said.

He said the search for the extinct Rhinos was sparked by reports from local population claiming to have spotted some of the animals in Bandingilo and Boma National Game Park.  

Though the search team has never confirmed existence of the popular animal, the minister disclosed that native communities of the country have reported seeing the species in the wilderness. 

The minister said if the rumours of Rhinos’ existence in the country are proven true, South Sudan will immediately report to CITIES to avoid its total extinction.

“Whether male or female, South Sudan Wildlife would apply through the international body for protection of endangered animal species to provide a partner from another country so as to breed the animals in the country for purpose of restocking,” he said.

South Sudan lost a great deal of wildlife species during the two decades of civil war where over 1.5 million people died and over 4 million others fled the region.

The extinction of wildlife during the war times was under multiple causes including killing by the fighting forces and poachers for either meat or sale.

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