Page last updated at 18:12 GMT, Thursday, 2 October 2008 19:12 UK

Black rhinos released into wild

Black rhino
Black rhino numbers have plummeted

For the first time in more than 25 years, captive-bred black rhinos have been released back into the wild in Kenya.

Experts have hailed it as a landmark step for African wildlife conservation.

Black rhinoceroses were once widespread in Africa, but in recent years these huge horned creatures have suffered dramatic declines, thanks to poaching and habitat loss.

In particular, Kenya has suffered huge losses, with numbers plummeting from an estimated 20,000 in the 1970s to some 500 today.

Those that remained were confined to sanctuaries.

The Kenya Wildlife Service has been working with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) to revive rhino numbers. And now they are confident enough to begin releasing these animals back into the wild.

The BBC's Karen Allen was there to watch the first batch being returned to their natural habitat - and met some of the people who have made it all happen.

FINDING THE RHINO

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Karen Allen joins the hunt for the rhinos that are going to be released

TAGGING THE RHINO

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Dr Raj Amin of the Kenya Wildlife Service explains how the animals are tagged

PREPARING FOR RELEASE

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Karen Allen finds out how the area is cleared before the release itself

THE MOMENT OF RELEASE

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The first black rhino is released into the wild




SEE ALSO
Rhinos where you least expect them
26 Apr 08 |  Science & Environment
Conservation alone 'is not enough'
10 Sep 07 |  Science & Environment
Extinction fear for black rhino
10 Jul 06 |  Science & Environment

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