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Rhinos for Cuba

September 2013
  • White rhino

    White rhino, photographed in Namibia. Photo: Wikipedia

Wild animals from the Waterberg are on vacation in the Caribbean. However, there is a high price to pay for the rest and recovery from the daily stress of survival: Their living space has been restricted and there will be no return home.

Currently 15 animals from the Waterberg Plateau Park and Etosha National Park are being captured for the Havana zoo – five elephants, five black and five white rhinos. The capture and transport is known as "Operation Noah’s Ark II". Phase one of the operation already started in November last year, when 120 animals were captured in the two parks and flown to Cuba by airplane.

In total Namibia gifted 146 animals of 23 species to the national zoo in Havana, including buffalo, lion, leopard and cheetah. The costs from the capturing of the animals over the erection of bomas (funnels and enclosures) to veterinary care and flights are carried by Namibia. The total value of Operation Noah’s Ark II is estimated at 16 million Namibian Dollars. It is a thank you gift to Cuba, which supported SWAPO during its liberation war against the apartheid regime in South Africa.