Tanzania goes digital to save rhinos

Monday June 25 2018


By Mussa Juma @TheCitizenTz news@nationmedia.com

Arusha. Hopes are high that the population of endangered rhinos will rise following intensification of surveillance.

The Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) representative, Mr Gerald Bigurube, said over the weekend that protection of the rhinos at the Serengeti National Park will be strengthened through the use of digital gadgets.

Mr Bigurube said the special devices will also assist in tracking down the lost animals.

He told The Citizen over the weekend that the Sh.253 million project for which FZS is involved in its implementation, was one of its kind in Africa. The funds were released by Friedkin Conservation Fund (FCF), an organisation involved in conservation and tourist hunting projects in various parts of the country.

Mr Bigurube said already 21 digital VHF gadgets have been fitted on the bodies of the rhinos, which are hunted for their horns.

He disclosed that the additional gadgets will be delivered to the Serengeti National Park authority later this year. “The aim of the project is to ensure that the rhinos are well protected. No poacher should be able to kill even a single rhino,” he said, adding that elephants, also hunted for their ivory, would be fitted with similar devices during the next phase of the project.

In order to ensure the effective use of the electronic gadgets, some wildlife officers have been flown to the Netherlands to train on how to use the technology.

The Serengeti National Park chief warden, Mr William Mwakilema lauded the initiative, saying protection of the rhinos was vital in sustaining tourism attractions in the area.

Other institutions involved include the Tanzania National Parks (Tanapa), the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (Tawiri) and the Tourism and Natural Resources ministry.

Tawiri’s principal wildlife researcher Dr Edward Kohi said the technology was effective in protecting endangered animals such as the rhinos and the elephants and that it proved efficient in other parts of the world.