Black rhino dies during transport from UK to Tanzania


The dangers faced when transporting animals by air was highlighted last week when Zambezi, a male black rhino from Port Lympne Reserve in the UK, died during his flight to Tanzania.

Zambezi was being transported via air from Kent to Tanzania, in partnership with the Grumeti Fund and the Tanzanian government, as part of a programme to repopulate the Serengeti with black rhino.


Zambezi was accompanied by a team from the Grumeti Fund Reserve, alongside one of his dedicated Keepers and a vet from Africa, experienced in the movement of rhinos and other large animals.

The rhino was being flown onboard an An-47 from Lydd Airport in Kent.


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The Aspinall Foundation, which runs Port Lympne, said the cause of death is currently unknown but a full investigation will be carried out as soon as possible.

“The movement of large animals and rhino in particular is not uncommon, 19 black rhinos have been successfully moved from Europe by air to safe havens around the world, in the last few years,” the foundation said.

“The Aspinall Foundation itself has already successfully translocated eight black rhinos to Africa from its Kent wild animal parks, which has assisted in boosting the dwindling population of black rhino that are registered as critically endangered in the wild. In addition, these rhinos have successfully mated and are responsible for the birth of at least 15 calves in the last 24 years.”

Damian Aspinall, Chairman of The Aspinall Foundation said: “Sadly Zambezi passed away on the plane on his way to the Grumeti Reserve in Tanzania. Like everyone at The Aspinall Foundation, I am shocked and devastated by the loss.

“We do not yet know what caused his death, but we will, of course, carry out every examination and enquiry possible to see if there are lessons to be learned.”

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