In September 2007 Hamish Currie took Zoo Dvur Kralove director Dr Dana Holeckova and Dr Martin Smrcek to Tanzania to explore the possibility of reintroducing Eastern Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis michaeli) from the zoo to Mkomazi National Park in north eastern Tanzania. Mkomazi is managed by Tony Fitzjohn. Tony Fitzjohn met again with Hamish Currie and Dana Holeckova in Cape Town in June 2008 where an agreement was reached to transfer three rhinos to Mkomazi.
Endangered Black Rhino
Mkomazi Game Reserve
Established by the Tanzanian Government in 1951, the Mkomazi Game Reserve encompasses over 1200 square miles (3,276 sq. km) in northeast Tanzania. Adjacent to Kenya’s Tsavo National Park, together they comprise one of the largest protected wilderness ecosystems in Africa.
In 1988, with Mkomazi on the brink of ecological disaster due to overgrazing, burning, indiscriminate hunting and poaching, the Tanzanian Government initiated a program of habitat rehabilitation and endangered species reintroduction, with the goal of re-establishing a viable ecosystem directly linked to Tsavo. The Mkomazi Project achieved National Priority Project status.
Tony Fitzjohn/George Adamson African Wildlife Preservation Trust
30 May 2009
Accompanying the rhinos was Back to Africa director Dr Peter Morkel who is a world-renowned authority on Black Rhino. To meet them on the tarmac was Tony Fitzjohn of Mkomazi and Back to Africa’s Hamish Currie. Deborah, Jamie and Jabu underwent weeks of crate training at the zoo with zoo keepers from Zoo Dvur Kralove and “rhino whisperer” Berry White from the UK. They were loaded onto three separate trucks for a five and a half hour road journey to Mkomazi. A large delegation was there to meet them at Mkomazi. This included government officials, press reporters, embassy personnel and excited staff of Mkomazi National Park.
Jamie was the first to be released into his boma but he would have nothing of it. More than an hour passed and only after much coaxing from his keeper, tempting him with Czech bread and apples, did he take his first steps on African soil. The next day all three were chewing Tanzanian raisin bush almost in preference to the best quality lucerne. The three will spend a few weeks in the bomas before being gradually released into a larger holding area and will then become part of Mkomazi’s Black Rhino breeding programme, reinforcing the existing population of Black Rhino in the park.
Back to Africa, a not for profit organization, runs solely on donations supplied by you. The operations alone require significant further financial investment. Some of these costs are particularly needed to meet the massive cost of transporting animals from zoo’s around the world Back to Africa.
Back to Africa is a Registered Non Profit Organization and falls under the Section 21 clause.
Registered charity number: 99 18147:/08