world's oldest rhino Archives - Rhino Review

‘Rhino Fausta’ had a market value of Sh760m (Tanzania)

By Conservation
The Citizen | December 31, 2019

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‘Fausta’ the rhino that died in the Ngorongoro crater of what is believed to be a natural cause over the weekend, had a market value of Sh 760 million. A senior official of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) told this newspaper early last year that the animal was worth that money.

The female rhino just like other 50 plus members of the critically endangered kin was under a 24 hour camera surveillance within the crater. Wildlife experts in Arusha on Monday, December 30, 2019 played down the death of the black rhino, saying it should not cause any alarm for the area’s tourism.

“If it is proved it has died of natural cause, it should not cause any panic. There are plenty of rhinos in Ngorongoro and elsewhere”, said one of them.

Original photo as published by The Citizen.

He told The Citizen rhinos in Ngorongoro and other parts of the country were highly protected and thus fairly safe from both diseases and poachers.

A wildlife veterinary expert who once worked with the NCAA said he had known Faru Fausta for years and was not surprised by its death. “At 57 years, she was probably as the oldest rhino in a free range. Even in captivity the others succumb at the age between 38 to 43 years”, he said.

Records indicate the female rhino was born in 1962 at a time when the entire conservation area, including the crater, had more than 100 rhinos. It was first sighted in the crater in 1965 inside the 260 km square crater. It was moved to a specially prepared sanctuary for 24 hour care due to deteriorating health.

Tourism and wildlife stakeholders, nevertheless, admitted rhinos were among the main attractions, pulling many tourists to the crater, an amphitheatre like caldera. “Inside the crater, it is much easier to see them within hours. There is a guarantee of seeing rhinos than any other place”, said Dr. Maurus Msuha, the director of Wildlife Division in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism.

He told The Citizen on phone from Dar es Salaam that the ministry was in touch with NCAA on the matter and that wildlife veterinary experts were at the site.

According to him, Ngorongoro was among the three main sites in the country where rhinos have been re-introduced to boost their population. The others are the Serengeti and Mkomazi national parks, he said, declining to reveal the current population of the endangered animals hunted down for their horns. However, an official of the conservation agency who spoke on condition of anonymity said there were about 60 rhinos under protection within the crater.

“Rhinos are among the Big Five members who attract multitudes of visitors to the crater every day”, she said, noting this has made the crater an iconic site.

World’s oldest rhino remains for preservation (Tanzania)

By Conservation
The Daily News | December 30, 2019

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As wildlife conservationists gather to bear with the death of ‘Fausta,’ the world’s oldest female black rhino of a natural cause on Friday, Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) mulls over preserving its remains for remembrance and historical purposes. That was revealed by the authority’s Principal Conservation Officer, Ms Joyce Mgaya in a telephone interview with ‘Daily News’ yesterday, adding that preserving its remains symbolised a fact that conservation campaign was not lost.

“NCAA is mulling over plans to ‘preserve’ the iconic black rhino that was first sighted in the Ngorongoro crater in 1965, while aged three years for remembrance and historical purposes,” said the NCAA officer.

The solitary female rhino died at 57 inside her sanctuary having roamed the crater freely for more than 54 years. Fausta’s health was said to have started deteriorating in 2016 after surviving several hyenas’ attacks, which left it with some wounds, though treated and put in confinement eating mostly lucerne – a perennial flowering plant in the legume fabaceae family.

Her death comes hardly a week after the NCAA marked its 60th anniversary last week with conservation efforts of such endangered animals being its priority.

In the arrangement, NCAA kept in an enclosure inside the crater to keep it safe from marauding hyena attacks. Expounding, NCAA Conservation Commissioner, Dr Fredy Manongi noted that records show that no other rhino had ever lived long as Fausta.

“Records show that Fausta lived longer than any rhino in the world and survived in the Ngorongoro, free-ranging, for more than 54 years. The second oldest rhino in the world was Sana, also a female but white one and died at 55 from South Africa,” he said.

The eastern female black rhino that was also set to have a foundation named after her, is said to have not produced a calf since 1984, but was able to live that longer because it did not face any biological and ecological stress. Such stresses include giving birth to a group of calves and overcoming frequent attacks from other animals like Hyenas and Lions which prey on them.

However, wildlife experts believe that a female black rhino can give birth to a calf that weighs approximately between 65 and 90 pounds, after every 3 years on average and its gestation period is 18 months.

Original photo as published by Dailynews.

Fausta came into the limelight after wildlife enthusiasts in Kenya mourned the death of Solio, the country’s oldest rhino, who died at the age of 42 years, surpassing the average wild black rhino lifespan of 30-35 years while in the wild, and about 50 in confinement. In 2017, the eastern female black rhino’s monthly upkeep caused uproar in Parliament with a section of Parliament raising eyebrows on the money spent to care for it.

In response, the NCAA clarified that the government spent 1.4m/- on monthly basis to keep it not 64m/- as alleged, because of its frail health. Commenting, the then Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Professor Jumanne Maghembe, told the legislators that different researches and data collected on the rhino necessitated the animal to be kept because it was the only of its kinds in the country.

Statistics further show that rhinos are amongst the most poached animals in East Africa, with their population dwindling, forcing authorities to keep them in protected areas. The wild animals have over the years been hunted nearly to extinction as a result of their horns high demand as an ornament and medical values.

According to an international non-governmental organisation, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), rhinos once roamed many places throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa and were known to early Europeans who honoured them by further keeping them in paintings. By 1970, the rhino numbers dropped to 70,000 and today, as few as 29,000 of them remain in the wild, though only few survive outside National Parks and Reserves from poachers.

In Africa, southern white rhinos, once thought to be extinct, now live in protected sanctuaries and are classified as near threatened.


Experts probe Fausta the rhino’s death (Tanzania)

By Conservation
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.