Eastern Black Rhino Re-establishment Project

Creating a founding population to return the eastern black rhino to the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem.

Since its inception in 2002, one of the Grumeti Fund’s main goals has been returning eastern black rhino to the western Serengeti; establishing a founding population contributing to the genetic pool and bolstering the greater Serengeti-Mara ecosystem’s rhino population.

Eight-year-old Eric was the first eastern black rhino to be brought home to the Serengeti by the Grumeti Fund. Donated by the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, he arrived on the 11th of September 2018, joining one female (known as Laikipia) already residing in the 276-hectare Black Rhino Intensive Protection Zone.

In 2019, the Grumeti Fund, in partnership with government stakeholders (primarily the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism and the Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority), translocated a breeding nucleus of rhino from an out-of-range population in South Africa. Following an arduous journey in crates, trucks and airplanes, nine black rhino arrived safely in Tanzania in September. After a few months acclimatizing in custom-built rhino enclosures, they were successfully released into the reserve in November, with the birth of the first calf following seven months later. The pair are thriving under the watchful eye of the aerial and ground teams who monitor their movements 24/7.

In June 2020, this ambitious conservation project reached an important and exciting goal: the birth of the first rhino calf at Singita Grumeti in decades. Born to Lindiwe (which means “awaited”), one of the females translocated from South Africa, the new arrival gives fresh hope to a species that is considered critically endangered and, for many years, was locally extinct in this part of Tanzania. 

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Eastern Black Rhino Re-establishment Project

Biodiversity
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Conservation Partner

Grumeti Fund

As the custodian of more than 350,000 acres of the world-renowned Serengeti ecosystem in Tanzania – which is home to the Great Migration – the Grumeti Fund is responsible for the reintroduction and recovery of stable wildlife populations, while ensuring that neighbouring rural communities benefit tangibly from these natural areas.

Faced with challenges including uncontrolled illegal hunting, rampant wildfires and spreading strands of invasive alien vegetation when they took over the management of the area in 2003, the Fund dedicated itself to transform severely depleted wildlife numbers into thriving populations once more.

Restoring this once barren and highly degraded region to a flourishing wilderness, their successes include the remarkable recovery of many species – including buffalo, wildebeest and elephant populations, and in 2019, the Fund carried out the largest single relocation and reintroduction of 9 critically endangered Eastern Black Rhino.

The Trust also manages an onsite Environmental Education Centre for school teachers and children to immerse themselves in Outdoor Education and fieldwork, and a world-class culinary school.

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3 Focus Areas of Conservation