Prince William supports rhino translocation From UK to Tanzania
19 June 2012
Tusk’s Royal Patron, The Duke of Cambridge, paid a visit a few day ago to Port Lympne Animal Park to lend his support for a historic airlift of 3 rare Black Rhinos which took place over the weekend from Kent to Mkomazi National Park in northern Tanzania.
The Duke gave an impassioned interview to the BBC calling for the world to halt the illegal trade in rhino horn, which is now seriously threatening the species with extinction. During his brief visit to Port Lympne, which is operated by the Aspinall Foundation, the Duke met the keepers and fed the rhino, which were shortly to be translocated to Tanzania.
Talking to Kate Silverton, the Duke expressed his deep concern for the escalation in poaching of both rhino and elephant across the African continent fuelled by the increased demand for rhino horn and ivory from the far East.
The translocation itself started early on Saturday morning with the three rhino, Zawardi, Monduli, and Grumeti, being individually and carefully coaxed into specially built crates for their long journey to Tanzania. Once safely in, they were lifted on to a waiting DHL transporter lorry and driven the short distance from Port Lympne via Dover to Manston Airport. Here DHL had organized for one of their Boeing 757 live cargo aircraft to be ready for its precious cargo.
Once Customs had been satisfied, the three crates along with assorted food supplies were squeezed onto the DHL aircraft, which had been emblazoned with a large rhino sticker on its fuselage to mark the operation.
Accompanied by specialist rhino vet, Dr Pete Morkel and two rhino keepers, the rhinos finally arrived in Kilimanjaro Int Airport at 7.00am on Sunday morning. Legendary conservationist, Tony Fitzjohn OBE, was there to meet and take them to Mkomazi, a remote 1,500 sq km reserve which he rehabilitated for the Tanzanian Government and was recently upgraded to a National Park. Tusk has been a long standing investor in the redevelopment of Mkomazi since 1995.
From under the shadow of Mt Kilimanjaro, the animals were slowly driven by road to their new home in the centre of Mkomazi, where they eventually arrived some 24 hours after leaving Port Lympne. We are delighted to report that all three rhino walked out of their crates and began feeding and drinking immediately. It is very much hoped that their arrival in Mkomazi will now provide an important new boost to the genetic diversity of the existing core rhino population living within the heavily protected sanctuary.
It had been a remarkable journey made possible thanks to months of planning and collaboration between the George Adamson Trust, The Aspinall Foundation, Tusk and DHL.
Tusk Trust wishes to express its deep sense of gratitude to DHL for the kind support that the company gave to this translocation. Providing the dedicated DHL Boeing 757 that carried the rhino back to Tanzania was an immensely generous contribution, without
which this exercise would not have happened
Click here to watch the Duke of Cambridge's full interview to the BBC.
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