The countdown to arrival has begun.
With only a day to go before the rhinos arrive, several preparations are being put in place. Most excitement is focused on the Seronera Airstrip in Serengeti where tractors and large machines are working to flatten and smooth the runway. The main parking spot for planes aside the airstrip is being manicured carefully so that the Hercules has a front row seat. Next to the where the Hercules will sit, large tents are being erected to cater to over 200 visitors that will witness their arrival.
The event will be a first class welcome for the rhinos. Several VIP visitors will be in attendance including the President of Tanzania, His Excellency, Jakaya Kikwete. Many other guests are expected some of whom include: Mrs. Joyce Silverman - the Director of Grzimek’s Help for Threatened Wildlife, Timothy Clarke – the EU ambassador to Tanzania, Mr. Alfonso Lenhardt – the US Ambassador to Tanzania, Mr T.H. Chiliza – the South African Ambassador to Tanzania, several officials from the Tanzanian Government, TAWIRI and TANAPA, and our very own CEO, Dr. Christof Schenck.
As the Hercules will only be arriving in mid-afternoon, the efficiency of offloading the rhinos is incredibly important. Emile Smidt led a discussion early this morning to help organize the procedure in partnership with TANAPA and Grumeti personnel. Visitors will have the opportunity to watch the crates being offloaded from the Hercules and witness the handover from the South African government to Tanzania. This will be memorable moment in the history of this relocation with great energy for the success of Eastern Black Rhino in the Serengeti in days to follow.
The six rhino will be loaded onto the Hercules in South Africa for an early morning departure tomorrow. There are three female rhinos and three males all between the ages of 3 and 16. A report from the vet states that they are all in good health and ready to be welcomed to their new home.
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