Experts probe Fausta the rhino’s death (Tanzania)

By January 2, 2020Conservation
The Citizen | December 30, 2019

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NGORONGORO: The results of an investigation into the death of Fausta the rhino will be known in two or three weeks. A team of scientists and veterinary experts from different research institutions arrived in Ngorongoro yesterday to start investigating the death of what was believed to be the world’s oldest black rhino.

The Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (Tawiri) lead researcher, Dr Ernest Mjingu, said yesterday that he and the team will conduct investigations on the source of Fausta’s death, despite the animal having died when she was 57 years old.

Original photo as published by The Citizen.

“We are taking samples from the carcass for laboratory investigations and earlier observations have shown that she was also started to develop heart failure,” he said.

He said the results of the investigation of dead Fausta the rhino and the overall records of her life will be kept, to allow them to be used by scientists and rhinos conservationists elsewhere in the world in future.

Other investigators who have joined the task are wildlife experts from Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) and researchers from Tanzania National Parks Authority (Tanapa).

The NCA conservation commissioner Dr Fredy Manongi and the National Rhino Conservation coordinator Mr Filbert Ngoti are also part of the team of experts. Speaking on Fausta’s death, Mr Ngoti said will reduce the increase of rhinos because was female. “In conservation, when a female animal dies it automatically reduce breeding and consider female animal as gold in conservation,” he said.

But, NCA’s Mr Manongi said one of the causes of Fausta death include age, as was being considered as the oldest Rhino in the world.

Fausta the rhino died on Friday at 20:17 hrs in a sanctuary where she was been kept for three years and has catch the interests of global media and conservationists.

Her health begun to deteriorate in 2016, when we were forced to put the animal in captivity, after several attacks from hyena and severe wounds thereafter, according to NCA’s Manongi.

Fausta is being one of famous rhinos in the world as two years ago; the parliament of Tanzania was shocked after being told that she spent Sh64 million per month for imported food and security. However, NCA authority decided to establish a special farm to grow special grass namely “lucina”, which have nutritious content for rhino to reduce imports costs.

Fausta has been receiving many visitors from across the world and is said to contribute to increase of NCA revenue as well as government incomes. The eastern black rhino is listed as critically endangered. Its numbers are dangerously low because the animals are often poached for their horn – however, numbers are increasing.

Fausta was first sighted in the Ngorongoro crater in 1965, when she was three and had never had calves – something conservationists in Ngorongoro suggest may have contributed to her long life.