FINALLY nine black Rhinos on Tuesday arrived at the Western Serengeti, thanks to the government of Tanzania and Grumeti Fund efforts.
In a press statement released here yesterday, a part read as: “The animals were carefully selected by age and genetic composition and based on the fact that they were originally removed from East Africa in the 1970s, they are likely to adapt to the existing Serengeti diversity and other Rhinos’ populations.”
The animals’ relocation from South Africa was considered as an effort to increase their population at the National Park that of late has been facing extinction as endangered species because of market of their horns. The statement further noted that this is the largest ever single movement of Rhino into Tanzania.
Presiding over the ceremony to receive the animals at Grumeti airstrip, Mara Regional Commissioner (RC) Mr Adam Malima thanked the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism and Grumeti Fund for making the relocation process become successful.
Expounding, he said that security officials in the region are well prepared to protect them from poachers.
“We will protect them (Rhinos) and no one should dare to test us,” said the RC, who is also the chairperson of Mara Regional Defence and Security Committee.
Attending, several members of the committee and wildlife conservationists nodded to the government move as they saw the arrival of the Rhinos landing in a cargo plane.
Before landing at Western Serengeti, the animals were transported from South Africa to Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA), where the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources Prof Adolf Mkenda led the reception.
He said that the conservation of the Rhinos is not easy and cheap, though they had planned for it for some time.
“We strongly believe that you can put a price on the survival of a specie…but Grumeti Fund will continue to fundraise, invest and work tirelessly with our partners to see that the black Rhinos are safe and live comfortably in the Serengeti ecosystem,” pointed out Grumeti Fund Executive Director, Mr Stephen Cunliffe.
Grumeti Fund is a nonprofit making organization that manages 350,000 acres in the Western Serengeti in partnership with the Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (TAWA).
The area forms a buffer zone to the Serengeti National Park has seen significant increase of wild animals like Elephants and Buffalo just to a mention a few.
With a strong anti- poaching presence in and around the vicinity, TAWA and Grumeti Fund under the patronage of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, the animals would be conserved.