CHESTER Zoo has helped provide a group of rhinos in Tanzania with vital access to water.
A two-tonne bowser, purchased with funds provided by the zoo, will be used in The Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary - a flagship conservation project in Tanzania - and will provide relief to 14 critically endangered black rhinos.
It was partly funded by the zoo’s ‘Rhino Maniacs’ - a team of nine members of staff who successfully conquered Mount Kilimanjaro and raised money for rhino conservation in 2010 - and the auction of the fibreglass rhinos that featured in last year’s Rhino Mania city-wide art project in Chester.
The bowser is described by Save the Rhino International as being ‘an exceptionally important piece of equipment’ - particularly given that it will supply all of the main troughs and watering holes across the 3,270km2 sanctuary.
And with the dry season approaching and with no other means of distributing water around the sanctuary, it was vital a solution was found quickly, which is why Chester Zoo was so keen to step in and help.
Dr Roger Wilkinson, Chester Zoo’s Head of Field Conservation and Research, said: “Chester Zoo’s conservation efforts extend beyond the zoo’s boundaries and assistance from organisations such as ours can make a real difference to species everywhere.
“There are now just 67 Eastern black rhinos left in Tanzania and so the work that Chester Zoo does, both here in the UK and out in the wild, is vital in ensuring the survival of the species.
“We were only too happy to offer our support and make sure these magnificent animals have plentiful access to water.”
It is hoped the population of rhinos in Mkomazi will eventually increase to between 20 and 25 in order to establish a viable population.