World’s oldest black Rhino dies in Tanzania

The world’s oldest free-ranging black rhino has died in Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania’s famous wildlife park for rhino conservation.

Aged 57 the female rhino named Fausta has been identified to be the oldest living rhino in the world up to Friday this weekend when conservation authorities announced its natural death in her cage within Ngorongoro Crater at 20:29 hours East African time (11:29 GMT).

Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority Conservation Commissioner Dr. Freddy Manongi said that the female eastern black rhino (Diceros birconis michaelli), died of natural causes on Friday, December 27th evening hours.

Records show that Fausta lived longest than any rhino in the world and roamed in the Ngorongoro crater for more than 54 years before it was kept in a sanctuary for the last three years of its life.

Fausta the black rhino was first located in the Ngorongoro crater in 1965 by a scientist from the University of Dar es Salaam when the rhino was aged three years.

Dr. Manongi said the rhino’s started to deteriorate in 2016, after several attacks from hyenas and other predators. She later suffered from poor sight which further compromised her survivability in the wild.

The famous tourist attractive black African rhino Fausta had survived with no calves.

World wildlife conservation records show that Sana, a female southern white rhino, aged 55, was previously considered to be the world’s oldest rhino in captivity. She died in 2017 at the La Planete Sauvage Zoological park in France.

The other old rhino Elly, was aged 46 years when she died on 11th May 2017 at her home in the San Francisco Zoo in the United States. The life expectancy of rhinos is between 37 and 43 years in the wild but can live up to 50 years in captivity, wildlife conservation records show.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCAA) is the only place and a safe haven for the few, remaining black rhinos in Tanzania. About 50 black rhinos are protected there under 24-hour camera surveillance inside the Ngorongoro crater and which is the only site in East Africa with a big concentration of over 25,000 big African mammals.

The crater contains over 25,000 other large animals including wildebeests, zebras, elands, and buffaloes.

The population of the critically endangered rhinos at the Ngorongoro Conservation Area has been increasing in recent years, said Dr. Manongi.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area is the other wildlife protected park with multiple land use, sharing its conserved land resources with Maasai cattle herders (pastoralists).

Marking 60 years of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA), Tanzania is now looking to increase the number of black rhinos in key parks to boost photographic tourism safaris.

Famous German conservationist and zoologist the late Professor Bernhard Grzimek was invited to Tanzania by the former British government to set up plans and boundaries for the conservation of wildlife and nature 60 years ago. Black rhino conservation in Tanzania was among the key tasks undertaken by the late Prof. Grzimek.

Rhino conservation had remained a key target which the conservationists are looking to ensure their survival after serious poaching almost decimated their numbers in past decades.

Black rhinos are among the most poached and endangered animals in East Africa with their population decreasing at a high speed.

The Tanzanian rhino management program that was developed about 20 years ago targets to increase their population in protected parks now under the management of the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA), Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA)and the Tanzania Wildlife Authority (TAWA).

In the past decades, black rhinos used to roam freely between Tsavo West National Park in Kenya and Mkomazi National Park in northern Tanzania, as well as Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and Maasai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya.