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Coming Home to Tanzania

Find out why rhinos are leaving South Africa for their native East Africa.

With fewer than 800 left in the world, East African Black Rhinos are a critically endangered species. Native to East Africa, their numbers dwindled as poaching for rhino horn surged in the 1970s and ’80s. In spite of this trend, the work of Vista Outdoors conservation Partners, ACCF (African Community and Conservation Foundation), and Grumeti Fund, has made a meaningful contribution to the repopulation and protection of the endangered East African Black Rhino in the Serengeti ecosystem. Working hand-in-hand with the Tanzanian Government, Grumeti Fund is translocating and reintroducing black rhino to their former rangelands in northern Tanzania.

Close-up of rhino.

Why relocate?
While rhino poaching still threatens the very existence of this species, there is a strong need to re-establish black rhino populations in well-protected areas where they formerly thrived, otherwise we risk losing the species to extinction.

Crates, trucks and planes
Thankfully, with generous support from numerous donors, the Grumeti Fund has been able to successfully acquire and translocate nine East African Black Rhino from an out-of-range population in South Africa to the western corridor of the Serengeti. While the logistics and care associated with translocating rhino over large distances is an incredibly complicated and delicate process, the greatest priority since their arrival at Grumeti has been the safety of those animals from their greatest threat: humans.

Image montage of the crate, truck and plane that transported rhinos.

Security and monitoring
The program is designed to provide the highest level of monitoring and security to keep these at-risk animals safe and thriving. Special-purpose infrastructure, to support the safe reintroduction of the rhino to the new habitat (i.e. temporary bomas), and a physical barrier to prevent their movement outside of the protected area (i.e. rhino fence), have proven invaluable to the successful reintroduction of these critically-endangered animals. In addition to the supportive infrastructure, the Grumeti Fund’s anti-poaching and research and monitoring teams work seven days a week, 365 days a year, to keep their eyes on rhino to ensure they are healthy and safe.

Rhino behind fence and handler.

Effects of COVID-19
The global pandemic has impacted almost every individual and organization on the planet. ACCF and the Grumeti Fund were not immune to the impact, however, plans to continue the second phase of translocations will continue in the second quarter of 2021.

Brady Forseth, CEO, ACCF reflects on the partnership with Vista. “We are extremely grateful to Vista Outdoor for their generous support.  They have stepped up in a big way to supply Grumeti’s anti-poaching team with the tools needed to protect the wildlife and communities who are on the frontlines of the human-wildlife conflict in Africa.  It’s exciting to see the results that the Grumeti team has already accomplished with these rhino translocations, including the recent birth of the first eastern black rhino in the western Serengeti in decades!  The future is bright as we look to secure the final $500,000 needed for this year’s translocation.”