They were missing for the “Big Five” in Mozambique – now the rhinos are back. In addition to elephants, lions, leopards and buffaloes, they should ensure a healthy ecosystem again in the future.

More than 40 years after rhinos were wiped out in Mozambique, the first 19 of the gray giants have been reintroduced to the southern African country.

The white rhinos were driven by truck more than 60 hours and 1,600 kilometers from South Africa to Mozambique’s Zinave National Park and resettled, the Peace Parks Foundation said on Friday. According to the foundation, another 21 white and black rhinos are to be added in the next two to three years.

The return of the rhino means that Mozambique now has the “Big Five” again for the first time in the country: elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo and rhino. This is not only important for tourism, but also for a healthy ecosystem, said the chairman of the Peace Parks Foundation, Werner Myburgh. The foundation hopes that in eight to 10 years, the rhino population in Zinave National Park will be large enough for other protected areas in Africa to be able to restock with the animals hunted for their horns, Myburgh said.

According to the nature conservation organization WWF, there are still around 18,000 white rhinos and around 5,600 endangered black rhinos in Africa. Every year, dozens of the animals are killed by poachers for their horns. In Asia, especially in Vietnam and China, horn is popular as an ingredient in traditional medicine and costs about as much as gold.