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Coming Soon: The Imminent Return of Black Rhinos to Mikumi Park in Southern Tanzania

Morogoro

The Tanzania National Parks Management in association with the country’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism are hatching an ambitious conservation project to re-introduce the original Black Rhinoceros Species in Mikumi.

According to zoological experts, Rhinos used to roam aplenty in the Mikumi National Park in the past.

The Rhino population remained intact in the habitat until sometimes between the 70s and mid-eighties.

Reports reveal that there was an onslaught of illegal hunters that descended onto the precinct, shooting the horned mammals, leading to their annihilation in the Southern Tanzania wilderness.

Mikumi is on the other hand, hitting the milestone of 60 years in 2024 since the National Park was established.

It was in August 1964, when the conservancy was upgraded from what used to be a Game Reserve into the current National Park located along the Tanzania-Zambia trackway.

Among the new strategies to boost tourism and wildlife species in the park, as far as the management is concerned, is to replenish the conservancy with some of the lost species including the legendary Rhino.

Tanzania National Parks’ Senior Conservation Officer, David Kadomo said the park is a natural habitat to the black Rhino and therefore restoring the species in its landscape is simply an act of bringing the ferocious mammals back home.

“We have experts raking parts of the National Park to find the perfect place where the Rhinos will be kept for acclimatization,” stated Conservator Kadomo, adding that some of the animals may be taken from the Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary in Kilimanjaro while others can be flown from South Africa.

From the recent wildlife census conducted by the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute, the country has only 212 Rhinos.

The Rhino in Tanzania graze freely in Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater.

In Mkomazi the Rhino are protected in a special, well-guarded enclosure.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reports 6,487 black rhinos left in the world today.

Mikumi National Park which is located near Morogoro, along the main highway to Zambia, occupies some 3,230 square kilometers of Savannah grasslands mixed with tropical forested hills.

It has almost all the important wildlife species, including the Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Giraffe and possibly the largest herds of buffaloes.

Tour operators want more animals in Mikumi apparently, especially the ‘Big Five,’ consisting of the Lion, Leopard, Giraffe, Elephant and Rhino, with the latter the only missing component.

“Mikumi is smaller in size compared to places like Nyerere or Serengeti, which means all animals can be seen within a single game drive,” said Mlema Mlema, a Guide with Hola Africa Safari, which operates in Mikumi.

Now tour operators and conservators feel it is high time the Rhino is brought into the fold to complete the ‘Big Five’ set and further boost the already vibrant tourism activities in the park.