Tuesday, June 22, 2010

“Moving rhinos really is a lot like moving mountains,” says U.S. official

Five eastern black rhinos (Diceros bicornis michaeli), a critically endangered species, recently were returned to the Serengeti National Park as part of an ambitious initiative to boost the viability of Tanzania’s rhino population.

The May 21 flight and five future flights to deliver the rhinos to Serengeti National Park are sponsored by National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Nduna Foundation and the Wildlife Without Borders program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

The rhinos’ safe arrival is a remarkable achievement for rhino conservation and for cooperation between nations, according to the USFWS. During the next two years, a total of 32 eastern black rhinos will be returned as part of the Serengeti Rhino Repatriation Project, more than doubling the number of rhinos in the Serengeti.

“The Serengeti Rhino Repatriation Project is an unprecedented collaboration among African nations and the United States of America for the good of conservation,” Michelle Gadd, the program coordinator for the USFWS African rhino conservation program, told America.gov June 11. “At a time when so many wildlife species are under threat, it is fantastic to see a population being restored.”

The project aims to restore biodiversity in northern Tanzania by doubling the existing population of black rhinos in the Serengeti and by re‐establishing connections among rhino populations in Tanzania and Kenya. The project is the culmination of years of work led by the Frankfurt Zoological Society, Tanzania National Parks, the Singita Grumeti Fund and the governments of Tanzania and South Africa.

Photo credit: AP Images

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