Black rhino conservation at Grumeti Reserves, Tanzania © Grumeti Fund. www.luxurysafaricamps.com
Although the Serengeti is the most intact grasslands ecosystem on earth, the problems of poaching, over-hunting and encroachment of developed lands have taken their toll. Among the “big five” (lion, leopard, elephant, cape buffalo and rhinoceros), one member was completely hunted out in the Western Corridor over the last four decades: the surprisingly shy yet awesome black rhinoceros.
Shamefully, most of the slaughter of the rhino was not even for meat but for the use of its horn in dagger handles and for its presumed medicinal properties. From 65,000 animals in 1960, poaching reduced the rhino population to less than 2000 by the 1980s. Today, the black rhino population in Tanzania is estimated to be somewhere between 60-70 individuals. Shocking to think that such a lordly lineage, one that thrived for nearly 50 million years could be exterminated in so short a time. The mission of Singita Grumeti Reserve is to preserve the unequalled biodiversity of this ancient ecosystem. For that reason, one of the highest priority wildlife goals has been to return the black rhino to its native range. The Grumeti wildlife management team is among Africa’s most experienced veterans of re-introductions of the black rhino. From Kruger to the lowveld of Zimbabwe’s Malilangwe to the caldera of Ngorongoro, the Grumeti team has time and again taken on the arduous, exacting and delicate task of seeking out suitable stock to start a new population and then transporting and acclimatizing them to their new home. Under the auspices of the Grumeti Fund, which was established to promote the welfare of the local people and the ecosystem, it is commited not only to the re-introduction of the species but also to assuming the financial responsibilities for safeguarding our rhino into the future. In this regard, the resources that tourism makes available to local conservation results in each and every visitor to Singita Grumeti Reserves becoming an indispensable partner in rhino conservation.
RHINO CONSERVATION NEEDS MORE THAN JUST A DAY –
Get involved and learn more about the Grumeti Fund and the Black Rhino relocation program.
The program involves the introduction of two captive-bred rhino, fully funded by Singita Grumeti Reserves. One female and one male were re-introduced to Singita Grumeti, into a sanctuary as a part of the “Save the Rhino” repatriation programme, in the hope of stimulating population growth and increasing genetic viability and diversity of the existing population within the Serengeti ecosystem.
The plan is to repatriate and introduce 34 wild rhino into the area through this program.
To protect and ensure safe habitat the anti-poaching relief requires economically-viable fencing, employment, training and management of a team of 120 scouts from the local areas, who in addition to patrols also help contribute to wildlife research and monitoring on the property spanning an area of 350,000 acres private to Singita Grumeti Reserve.
To sustain this effort in one of the most unique and pristine wilderness areas left in the world, the program is dependant on contributions from guests and members of the international community concerned about widlife welfare. A budget of approximately $1.5 million is required to fund this major initiative. A portion of the funding from the luxury safari lodges at Grumeti reserve help fund the community and conservation work, however direct financial contributions lend substantial income to these efforts.