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Escaped rhino returned to Etosha

Escaped rhino returned to Etosha

Niël Terblanché

THE rhino that caused commotion in the villages of the Uuwiyu-Uushona
Constituency earlier on Wednesday was under guard from environment ministry
officials from when it escaped until it was safely darted, sedated and taken back to
the Etosha National Park.
According to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism’s spokesperson, Romeo
Muyunda, the rhino at Uuwiyu-Uushona was one of a pair that escaped from the
park on Tuesday. The first rhino was successfully captured by a specialist team and
relocated later on Wednesday.
The escape on Tuesday prompted MET officials to keep a close eye on the pair of
escaped rhinos. He said the animals escaped from the park through a damaged part
of the fence.
“Our officials were monitoring both animals the entire time. The one at Uuwiyu-
Uushona was obviously too close to human settlement areas and it needed more
urgent attention.”
Muyunda said the second rhino is still roaming outside the park but that it also will be
darted and taken back to Etosha if it gets too close to areas where humans have
settled.
“The second animal might very well wander back to more familiar surroundings on its
own but officials are keeping a close eye on it never the less.”
He added that it is not uncommon for rhinos and other animals to come through
broken parts the fence into communal farming areas and villages.
The incident with the rhino on Wednesday morning occurred in the constituency
neighbouring the Okatjali Constituency where an escaped lion caused chaos when it
allegedly injured a person at the Uulunga wa Kolondo cattle post about two weeks
ago.

During the hunt for the escaped lion, a cattle herder and an official from the
environment ministry were wounded in the cross fire when three teams consisting of
soldiers, police officers and game wardens on the back of a bakkie opened fire on
the cat when it charged their vehicle.
Muyunda said the lion also escaped from the national park through a broken part of
the fence and that the environment ministry is urgently looking at ways to mend the
fence around the park to avoid further conflict between humans and wildlife.
“The mending of the fence is viewed as very serious and an urgent issue because it
can always cause other unfortunate situations,” he said.
He said the ministry has already looked at various options and revised specifications
to get the fence around the national park fixed within the constraints of a limited
budget.
“Besides looking at alternative means for funding, we still have to do more with less.
The project will, however, be launched soon,” Muyunda concluded.

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