ARUSHA Tanzania (Xinhua) --
Tanzania on Monday defended its decision of
importing a male black rhino from the United States to help in
breeding the endangered species.
male East African black rhino known as Eric from the San Diego
Zoo Safari Park was last week successfully moved to Tanzania’s
western Serengeti National Park, in an effort to save the
critically endangered species from extinction.
Tanzania’s acting director of the wildlife division in the
Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, defended the move
saying it was not only for multiplying the number of rhinos in
Tanzania but also improving the rhinos’ gene pool through
“Eric is a strong
rhino and we are confident this will be manifested through its
off-springs,” Masalu said.
Masalu said Eric
roots were from a tropical zone and was indeed sub species from
Africa, and the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute and the
Tanzania Wildlife Authority had been consulted before the
“All processes were
followed including engaging wildlife authorities and
researchers,” said Masalu.
“It will remain in a
small enclosure before it is released into the wild as it tries
to acclimatize its new home,” said Masalu, adding that Eric will
be under the watchful eyes of veterinary officers all the time.
undertaking involving the 1,157-kilogram black rhino was
planned, organized and coordinated by Singita Grumeti Fund (SGF),
a non-profit organization carrying out wildlife conservation and
community development work in the western corridor of the
Serengeti ecosystem in Tanzania.
Eric, who is now
acclimatizing to its new home in the 350,000-acre private
concession, is said to be a gift to Tanzania by San Diego Zoo as
a way of increasing population of the critically endangered
eastern black rhino within the greater Serengeti ecosystem.
However, the move
faces strong criticism from local media, with some questioning
Tanzania’s ability in conserving its wildlife.