Endangered rhinos return to wild

December 11, 2009
A picture taken in October 2004 shows Fatu (C) at the Dvur Kralove zoo, East Bohemia. A Czech zoo is to transfer four endangered Northern White rhinos to a Kenyan reserve in a last-ditch attempt to ensure the survival of the species.

A Czech zoo is to transfer four endangered Northern White rhinos to a Kenyan reserve in a last-ditch attempt to ensure the survival of the species.

"We must offer them this last chance, in their natural environment in Africa," said director Dana Holeckova of the Dvur-Kralove in central Czech Republic.

According to experts there are only eight remaining Northern White , a sub-species of the White Rhino -- worldwide. All live in captivity -- six at Dvur-Kralove and two more at San Diego Zoo in the United States.

The last birth was at Dvur-Kralove in 2000.

It is hoped that returning the to the wild will affect the hormonal levels of the female rhinos allowing them to breed, said Holeckova.

The four rhinos -- two males and two females -- would be transferred by air to Kenya's Ol Pejeta reserve on December 19.

The Northern White rhino once ranged across central and eastern but was wiped out in the wild by poaching for their horns, which are much prized for use in Asian medicines.

(c) 2009 AFP

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