NFWF and Nduna Foundation Provide Funding to Return Black Rhino to Tanzania as Part of Conservation Effort to Save the Species from Extinction

WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 21, 2018) – Eric, an 8-year-old male east African black rhino from the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, is now a resident of Tanzania. The rhino was gifted to the government and the people of the United Republic of Tanzania to promote breeding of the critically endangered black rhino within the greater Serengeti ecosystem. He will be cared for and reside at Singita Grumeti, a 350,000-acre private concession, which is working with the Tanzanian Wildlife Management Authority and Tanzanian Wildlife Research Institute to conserve wildlife and, in this project, to boost the local population of black rhino in their native habitat. 

With funding provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and the Nduna Foundation, the 2,550-pound rhino was transported in his crate by cargo plane from Los Angeles to Serengeti National Park Airport, accompanied by animal care staff from both the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and Singita Grumeti.  NFWF and Nduna Foundation funding covered the costs associated with the plane and other support. The mission was also made possible by the rapid approval of the necessary permits by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

“I want to thank all of the partners who came together to successfully transport Eric to his new home,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “The contribution from the Nduna Foundation, continuing their long-term commitment to conservation in Africa, was essential to the success of this translocation. As was the Fish and Wildlife Service taking the proactive permitting actions that they did, without which we would not have been able to relocate the animal to Tanzania.”

Upon his arrival in Tanzania, Eric was loaded onto a flatbed truck and driven to his new home at Singita Grumeti. The animal care staff at Singita Grumeti will work to acclimate Eric to his new surroundings in stages, using positive reinforcement. If all goes well, he will be introduced within two to three months to a female rhino named Laikipia, who needs a mate. The two will share a 682-acre proactively managed Rhino Intensive Protection Zone.

Once plentiful in eastern and southern Africa, the black rhino has been decimated by poaching. There are now fewer than 5,000 black rhinos remaining on Earth – only 740 eastern black rhinos like Eric. Currently, it is estimated there are approximately 50 to 100 black rhinos in the Serengeti ecosystem. Black rhinos are an important part of the African ecosystem, supporting a number of other species through their effect on their habitat. 

About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Chartered by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores the nation's fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Working with federal, corporate and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 4,500 organizations and committed more than $4.8 billion to conservation projects. Learn more at www.nfwf.org.

About the Nduna Foundation
Amy Towers established the Nduna Foundation in 2007 with the intent to focus work on nutrition, human rights, and conservation, primarily in conflict and post-conflict countries in Africa.

 

 Contact:

 

Rob Blumenthal, 202-857-0166