The team working behind the scenes to ensure the rhinos have a safe and successful arrival is growing every day. Rangers are being trained, professionals are bringing in their advice and the number of press continues to increase.
Several institutions are working in collaboration on the Serengeti Rhino Relocation Project (SRRP) including:
• Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA)
• Tanzanian Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism
• Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI)
• South African National Parks (SANParks)
• Grumeti Fund (GF)
• Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS)
• US Fish and Wildlife Foundation
• Nduna Foundation
Apart from the larger institutions, several individuals are offering their time and expertise.
Meet the team!
Project Leader SRRP - FZS
Emile has been working with rhino for over a decade. Originally from South Africa, Emile brings a wealth of knowledge specifically pertaining to rhino populations.
He has worked with rhino in the Karoo National Park, Marakele National Park, iMfolozi Game Reserve and now Serengeti National Park.
He aided in a relocation effort in iMfolozi Game Reserve where he was stationed as a Section Ranger. iMfolozi has one of the highest densities of rhino in the world and made for an exceptional place to learn about rhino behavior and protection strategies. Emile has worked with intensive boma management and monitoring of black rhino as well and has been a monumental leader in the current efforts to bring these rhino to the Serengeti.
Programme Manager - FZS
Alastair currently works as a Programme Manager for FZS to oversee several of the projects in the field, one of which is the Serengeti Rhino Repatriation Project. His duties include managing FZS’s projects in Zambia, Ngorongoro Crater and the Kenya Mara project as well.
Alastair has been working in the field of conservation across Africa for over thirteen years. His work has brought him to work across Africa beginning in his homeland of South Africa and working all the way up to areas in Ethiopia.
In South Africa’s Mkuzi Game Reserve Alastair helped implement a black rhino monitoring program and assessed population trends among the reserve. His focus was on resource protection which he continues to encourage today in the Serengeti National Park through the Rhino Repatriation Project.
Genes F. Shayo
Park Warden - TANAPA
Project Manager – SRRP
Shayo has been heavily involved in the lead of the project since it commenced in February 2009. He has been at the forefront of the trainings for the wardens and rangers that will be responsible for the protection of the rhino. Shayo also aided in the construction of the bomas and decisions surrounding where to situate them by composing a Habitat Suitability Assessment Survey.
Recently Shayo has been aiding in the preparation of the Seronera airstrip to upgrade the field so it is ready for the arrival of the aircraft transporting the rhino.
Shayo’s studies include a diploma in Wildlife Management from the College of African Wildlife Management – Mweka and he is continuing his training in South Africa to gain more knowledge of rhino monitoring and the use of telemetry in tracking rhino.
Rangers and Wardens
TANAPA, NCAA and Grumeti
In preparation for the arrival of the rhino, 149 rangers working within the Serengeti Ecosystem have participated in a variety of training sessions. They have learned everything from basic field skills to engaging in live ammunition activities. They are expected to be the best trained in Africa and maintain a level of standards accordingly.
Each ranger was required to attend a six-week training session to acquire skills in firearm handling, rhino behavioral studies, map and compass orienteering sessions, adaptive patrol techniques and leadership skills.
An elite team was selected to become the Serengeti Rhino Protection Unit (SRPU), a specialized group of men able to take on strenuous field conditions and undergo advanced training. They continued on for an additional seven weeks to learn tactical firearm handling and movement, helicopter fast-rope training, how to approach a night ambush and extended foot patrols.
The training will be ongoing and their efforts in the field will be vital to the survival of the rhino.
Instructor – Africa Field Ranger Training Services
Martin has been leading the training sessions for the rangers and wardens alike. As an instructor for African Field Ranger Training Services, Martin was brought to Tanzania in 2009 to increase the intensity and direction of ranger training to prepare for the arrival of the rhinos.
Martin is a previous member of the South African National Defense Force providing him the ability to impart dedication and discipline among the rangers in the Serengeti. His experience has brought him to Mozambique, Angola, Swaziland, Tanzania and his home of South Africa as a chief instructor. He is well respected and has played an imperative role for the days ahead.
Dr. Peter Morkel
African Rhino Expert & Veterinarian
Dr. Peter Morkel, a wildlife vet with rhino experience, will work on the rhino monitoring and capture team. He has extensive experience relocating rhino and will accompany the rhino every step of the way.
He has been working full time as a wildlife veterinarian since 1986, specifically focusing his efforts on black rhino.
He is currently a member of the African Rhino Specialist Group of the IUCN SSC and will play an imperative role in the success of the health of the rhino from the capture in South Africa to their release in Serengeti.
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