The Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary in Tanzania lacks a permanent water supply. In the driest months (July to October) providing the black rhinos their required daily drinking water is a particular challenge to the Sanctuary.
Right now, we are in the middle of a dry season and daily roundtrips of 90 km (54 miles) by truck and bowser are required to provide the critical water supply to the Sanctuary. Add to that, a global pandemic that stalled tourism and dried up the critical income from tourists.
A water pipeline and tank will significantly reduce the overhead costs of the Sanctuary freeing up resources to ensure that the rhinos do not only survive but thrive. Rhinos wallow in mud to protect themselves from fly bites and sunburn. Being able to provide mulitple water points reduces stress for the rhinos and lessens the risk of confrontation between rhinos.
Conservation does not work without community support. The water infrastructure needed for the Sanctuary would also provide potable water to the villagers and rangers in the area. As a result of COVID-19, the funding from tourism in Tanzania has plummeted. Help support Mkomazi by reducing the operating costs of the Rhino Sanctuary.
The Axmann family has visited for Mkomazi for the last thirty years and have watched the ecosystem return from the brink. We care deeply about this unique part of Tanzania.
We are therefore raising $50,000 as our COVID-19 emergency relief fund for the Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary. We seek to support the Sanctuary in two ways: 1) continue its daily operations including the essential provisions of fresh drinking water to the rhinos b) transition the daily operations away from the expensive fuel costs currently incurred transporting freshwater by enabling a water pipeline and tank for the community and Sanctuary. Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA) is largely reliant on tourism and saw its funding dry up with travel restrictions from the global COVID-19 pandemic. We want to ensure their critical work in the Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary continues uninterrupted by supporting their ongoing efforts and contributing towards a more sustainable water supply.
Frankfurt Zoological Society, a registered U.S. charity that provides critical support in Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area, is collaborating with the Axmann family to provide a COVID-19 emergency relief fundraiser for TANAPA’s Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary.
Mkomazi National Park is part of one of the world’s largest and most ecologically important networks of protected areas known as the Greater Tsavo Ecosystem. Some of Africa’s most stunning wildlife call Mkomazi home. The transboundary parks are a particularly critical landscape for elephants, which migrate between Mkomazi in Tanzania to Tsavo West and other conservancies in Kenya.
Without both sides protected, one of the world’s biodiversity strongholds lies at risk. Thankfully, both Tanzania and Kenya have incredible national park systems with dedicated rangers on the ground.
Rhino conservation in Mkomazi:
Mkomazi National Park itself is perhaps most renowned for its critical role in the conservation of the highly endangered black rhino. Historically, Mkomazi was home to a healthy population of 400 black rhinos, but a wave of poaching hit Tanzania in the 1970s. By the late 1980s, rhino and elephants were extinct from Mkomazi. The Tanzanian government showed its determination and responsibility by establishing the Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary in 1989 as a joint operation with the George Adamson Wildlife Preservation Trust. With dedication and cutting edge conservation tools the Sanctuary has now succeeded in reintroducing black rhinos and establishing a vitally important breeding population. Another success includes the reintroduction of African wild dogs back into the ecosystem. In 2008, Tanzania recognized the success by declaring Mkomazi a National Park, and in 2019, after a productive 30-year partnership with the Trust, the Tanzania National Parks authority (TANAPA) assumed full financial responsibility for the park and the Sanctuary.
Tanzania is a world class safari destination. Major attractions like the Serengeti help pay for less frequently visited parks like Mkomazi. With COVID-19, tourism has all but disappeared from the African savannas, and keeping wildlife and their range safe has become exponentially more difficult. Vast areas need to be patrolled, threats ranging from poaching to illegal grazing to invasive species are confronted on a daily basis, and the work requires a well-trained, dedicated team that includes rangers, wardens, veterinarians, ecologists and park managers. Funds to support salaries, vehicle maintenance, fuel, and food rations for the field park rangers protecting the rhinos and this landscape are running out fast.
Currently, the infrastructure and staff are still in place but the question is how much longer can they keep this critical work going?
With support from Frankfurt Zoological Society and TANAPA, the Axmann family is running this fundraising campaign for the rhinos and one of the world’s last great wilderness areas. Our past support for Mkomazi National Park has included the donation of a bulldozer for water reservoir construction and the publication of mkomaziwilderness.com.
Learn more about Mkomazi from the people on the ground:
Help protect the endangered black rhino by enabling a permanent water supply for the Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary!