Kigali, Jun 25 (AP/UNB) — Five critically endangered eastern black rhinos from wildlife parks in three European countries were transported to Rwanda's Akagera National Park on Monday.
Two male and three female eastern black rhinoceroses were released into protective enclosures and will eventually be introduced into open plains to increase the genetic diversity of the park's rhino population, said officials.
The eastern black rhino is in critical danger of extinction with about 1,000 remaining in the wild, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
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.
"The newly translocated rhinos will bolster the founder group that we introduced in 2017, contributing to the reestablishment of a robust eastern black rhino population in Rwanda," said Jes Gruner, manager of Akagera Park. "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."
Clare Akamanzi, CEO of the Rwanda Development Board, said the eastern black rhinos are "crucial to wildlife conservation and biodiversity protection efforts, both in Rwanda and across Africa."
Africa's rhinos remain under intense pressure from poachers who kill them to meet demand for their horns in illegal markets, primarily in Vietnam and China.
Under the management of the African Parks group, Akagera has rebuilt its wildlife populations. In July 2015, Rwanda reintroduced lions to Akagera, 15 years after they had disappeared.
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.
Tourism has become one of Rwanda's largest earners of foreign exchange and 1.3 million visitors came to the country in 2017, according to government statistics. Many come to encounter the rare mountain gorillas and Rwanda is increasing the ability for tourists to see other big game such as elephants, lions, leopards and buffaloes, as well as rhinos.
The five eastern black rhinos were came from the Safari Park Dvur Králové in the Czech Republic, Flamingo Land in Britain and Ree Park Safari in Denmark. The five began their journey from the Czech Republic on June 23 following months of preparation at Safari Park Dvur Králové. Precautions were taken to minimize stress and ensure their well-being throughout the translocation process. They were flown to Kigali before being transferred by truck to Akagera Park.
Dhaka, Jun 24 (UNB) - The starving polar bear who has been wandering around the Siberian city of Norilsk for four days was captured Thursday by wildlife experts from the Royev Ruchey Zoo, The Siberian Times reported. She is in a "dangerous state" after eating human garbage and will be flown to the zoo tomorrow for treatment, experts said reports EcoWatch.
When the bear was first sighted, some speculated she had traveled from the Arctic seeking food. Royev Ruchey experts now say that might not be the case: it is typically males who travel long distances, and her coat is cleaner than would be expected after such a journey. Instead, they think she might have been caught by poachers as a cub and raised in or near Norilsk for her pelt. Stronger punishments for polar bear poaching were put in place last year, which may have prompted her captors to release her, the experts said.
An exhausted, starving polar bear has been spotted wandering around the Siberian city of Norilsk, Reuters reported Tuesday. It is the first time a polar bear has entered the city in more than 40 years.
The bear was first seen Sunday evening in an industrial part of the city's northeast, environmental services official Alexander Korobkin told AFP.
"He is still moving around a factory, under observation by police and the emergency services, who are ensuring his safety and those of residents," Korobkin told AFP Tuesday.
Both BBC News and Reuters identified the bear as female.
The bear had wandered hundreds of miles from its Arctic habitat to reach Norilsk, an industrial city known for nickel production. More polar bears have gone on land to search for food as the climate crisis has been shrinking the sea ice they depend upon. Parts of the Russian Arctic are melting twice as fast as they were 10 years ago, a 2018 study found. This has led to more interactions between bears and humans.
In February, Russia's Novaya Zemlya islands declared a state of emergency after polar bears entered the settlement of Belushya Guba to scavenge for food. Around 52 bears were counted near the settlement starting in December, and they were not afraid to enter human homes or buildings.
In 2016, polar bears besieged five scientists at a Troynoy Island weather station in the Arctic, interfering with their work and killing one of their dogs, BBC News reported.
Local wildlife expert Oleg Krashevsky told Reuters he wasn't sure why this particular polar bear had entered Norilsk, but said it was possible she had gotten lost, because she showed signs of poor vision.
The bear lay on the ground for hours at a time Tuesday, standing only sporadically to sniff for food. Her feet were covered in mud.
State wildlife experts will arrive in the city Wednesday to examine the bear, but Krashevsky said he wasn't sure what could be done for her, since she appeared too weak to return home.
Missoula, Jun 23 (AP/UNB) — Authorities say a black bear somehow locked itself inside a Montana home and then nestled onto a closet shelf that wasn’t too hard, wasn’t too soft, but just right for a nap.
Missoula County sheriff’s officials say the bear just yawned when deputies knocked on the window and unlocked the door in an attempt to coax it to leave Friday morning.
They had to call Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department officials, who tranquilized the bear so it could be re-located.
Sheriff’s officials say in a Facebook post that deputies responded at 5:45 a.m. to a call that a bear opened the door to the Butler Creek’s mudroom and somehow locked the deadbolt once inside.
They say the bear “began ripping the room apart” before climbing up the closet for a nap.
Canberra, June 23 (Xinhua/UNB) -- The number of crocodile attacks could rise as global warming takes hold, an Australian expert has said.
Adam Britton, a zoologist from the Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods (RIEL) at Charles Darwin University (CDU) in the Northern Territory (NT), told News Corp Australia on Sunday that as temperatures rise, crocodiles will move into areas that they never previously inhabited.
He said that the spread of the population would mean the reptiles will interact with people who have never come into contact with crocodiles before.
"As the planet warms, it does mean crocodile attacks are going to go up as a direct result, because as it warms, it's going to change the distribution of crocodiles," Britton said.
"We're seeing in Indonesia, crocodiles move into places that they haven't been seen for a long time or seen before and we're getting a string of attacks," Britton said.
"Crocodiles will move after loss of habitat and move into areas where people aren't used to them," he added.
According to Britton, there have already been sightings of crocodiles in populated areas of northern Queensland where they have been rarely spotted.
Littleton, Jun 22 (AP/UNB) — A flock of ducklings is safe in suburban Denver after a firefighter used a recording of duck calls to coax some of them from a storm drain.
A video from South Metro Fire Rescue shows how a firefighter was able to scoop out four of the birds in the water at the bottom of the drain on Thursday. Four others, though, were hiding in an adjacent pipe.
The firefighter held up his cellphone to an opening in the pipe and played a YouTube video of duck calls. The ducklings walked toward the sound.
The fire district says the ducklings were reunited with their mother, who was nearby.