AS the number of black rhinos continues to dwindle worldwide, Tanzania is earnestly initiating a solid partnership between public and private sectors in a spirited initiative to protect the endangered ferocious mammals.
The Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Dr Aloyce Nzuki, held a meeting with representatives of institutions with the mandate to conserve wildlife together with members of the private sector to find sustainable ways of protecting the rare rhinos.
According to Dr Nzuki, whereas poaching cases targeting rhinos had almost ceased and the country's stock of the mammals was more than 100 and the number was consistently increasing, Tanzania had taken more spirited efforts to guarantee the animals' safety.
"We all agree that, keeping rhinoceros species is an expensive venture, especially because most of these mammals roam freely in parks, unlike in other countries where they are kept safely in cages or highly protected sanctuaries," said Dr Nzuki.
On his part, the Principal Researcher at the Arusha-based Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI), Dr Edward Kohi, pointed out that in the 1970s, over 65,000 rhinos were roaming freely across the African continent.
"But as we speak now, there are just 5000 black rhinos left in Africa at the moment and these can be found in few selected areas, mostly inside cages," he said.
Rhinos in Tanzania can be found at Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary in Same District of Kilimanjaro, inside the Ngorongoro Crater and parts of the Serengeti, the country's second largest National Park.
An expert in wildlife conservation, Dr Alex Lobora, stated here that Tanzania still had ample areas suitable for rhino rearing and protection but unless all parties got seriously involved, the task would be too heavy for the government to handle alone.
The Frankfurt Zoological Society Manager, Mr Rihana Labuschagne, said his organisation had already started working with the government towards the protection of rhinos and elephants in Serengeti.
"We have received over 1 billion/- from the Friedkin Conservation Fund (FCN) for the Rhino Protection Unit at Serengeti National Park," said the FZS Manager.