THE government has defended the costs incurred for keeping Fausta the Rhino, aged 54 years, who is described to be the oldest in the world, currently being kept at Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) in Arusha Region, Northern part of Tanzania.
Natural Resources and Tourism Minister, Prof Jumanne Maghembe, told the National Assembly here on Thursday that the government was spending about 64m/- per month, an amount described by some Members of Parliament (MPs) as colossal.
“It is true that there is Fausta the Rhino at Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The animal has been placed in a cage because it is too old and was being threatened by a variety of diseases. The purpose is to ensure the life of this animal continues,” the minister said.
According to Prof Maghembe, different researches are being made and data collected regarding this Rhino because these kinds of animals are very few in the country at the moment.
He pointed out that each statistic being collected is compared with the real life of those who are in the forest and was so essential for the life of others that also live in the areas. “It is true that this work needs costs, but those are the real costs for the conservation. I, therefore, ask the MP to continue trusting us that we are doing this in good faith and that the statistics availed are true value for the conservation of this animal,” the minister said.
He was responding to a supplementary question by Pauline Gekul (Babati Urban-Chadema), who had expressed her concern over the costs incurred for keeping Fausta the Rhino inside Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
The report, quoting the Head of NCA, Dr Fredy Manongi, as saying that Fausta the Rhino was too old, whose age is at 54 and was placed in the cage because at the time when it was mixed with other animals in the forest had received some attacks from hyenas, thus creating some wounds on its body.
Further reports suggest that Fausta the Rhino, who is among more than 50 Rhinos living in Ngorongoro Conservation Area, never bore any child in his life. It is stated that hyenas managed to attack such a Rhino because of the age and being weak.
“But we have organised ourselves to make sure the animal lived many more years, leaving a unique history in the world,” the leading Rhino Conservator at NCA, Cuthbert Lemanya, is quoted as saying.
Fausta the Rhino is among the black rhino, whose original is South Africa.
There are claims that the animal has lost its sight ability due to the old age it has. Unlike other Rhinos with old ages in the world, Fausta the Rhino lives in the natural environment, but other Rhinos in different countries in the world, including Kenya are living in zoos or designated areas for rhinos known as ‘Rhino Sanctuary’.