A critically endangered black rhino, born in Kent and given a royal send-off by Prince William from The Aspinall Foundation’s Port Lympne Reserve on the journey back to her native homelands in the foothills of Kilimanjaro Tanzania, has given birth to a healthy baby calf after three years in the wild.
The birth of baby Mobo to Grumeti , marks another success for The Aspinall Foundation global conservation charity, adding to its unrivalled record in the successful return of captive-bred animals to their natural breeding grounds. Grumeti herself was captive-bred by the Foundation at Port Lympne in 2007. Mobo’s father is Jamie who was translocated to Tanzania from Dvur Kralove Zoo, Czech Republic in 2009. He was born at Dvur Kralove in 2006 to Jessi and Sauron.
Weighing around 1000 kilograms, Grumetti was one of three eastern black rhino flown out by DHL in a specially adapted Boeing 757 to join the dwindling rhino population in a protected reserve in Tanzania. She travelled with two other rhinos from Port Lympne - another female called Zawadi and a male named Monduli.
Their return to Africa was part of The Aspinall Foundation’s ground-breaking Back to the Wild programme. This has seen scores of animals from critically endangered species, successfully released from captivity to restock natural habitats following the ravaging of the species by human activities in their ancestral homelands.
Altogether The Aspinall Foundation has successfully released eight black rhino back into the wild, as well as more than 60 gorillas and scores of other smaller primates including lemurs, langur and gibbons. Further releases are planned as part of The Aspinall Foundations vision to re-stock the wild with endangered species.
Damian Aspinall, chairman of The Aspinall Foundation said: “Mobo’s birth illustrates perfectly our passionate belief in the true role of modern conservation as being committed to the survival of threatened species in their natural territories. We believe this is preferable, wherever possible, to simply keeping them caged in an existence which does little for prospects of long-term survival.”
Mobo was born after a gestation period of some 15 months with a birth weight of around 36 kilograms, the average weight of an 11-year-old child. Roaming free in the wild, she will live with her mother for anything between two and five years and can then expect an average natural lifespan of up to 50 years, growing to a weight in excess of 1000 kilograms.