San Diego Zoo rhino given new home in Tanzania

San Diego Zoo rhino given new home in Tanzania
San Diego Zoo rhino given new home in Tanzania
San Diego Zoo rhino given new home in Tanzania
Posted at 4:04 PM, Sep 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-18 19:04:00-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) —An 8-year-old African black rhino born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park is now a resident of Tanzania.

Eric, born at the zoo in 2010, was gifted to the United Republic of Tanzania this month to promote breeding of the of the critically endangered species in the Serengeti, the zoo says.

He will live at the Singita Grumeti wildlife conservation to help boost the local population in their native habitat.

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"Our months of preparation for Eric’s travel prepared him very well and the transport could have not gone any better," Steve Metzler, Henshaw curator of mammals, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, said. "He was eating well along the journey and he has arrived safely and settled in very quickly. I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome."

In his new home, Eric will adjust to numerous changes. His food sources will change from pellets, hay, and produce to leaves from bushes and trees. He'll interact with new animals in his habitat, including elephants and zebras.

Throughout his introduction, Eric will be monitored and protected by anti-poaching game scouts, intelligence gathering units, and other security measures.

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Less than 5,000 black rhinos remain on Earth. Only about 740 are like Eric.

"There is a lot of excitement and anticipation for what Eric’s arrival means for rhino conservation in Tanzania," Stephen Cunliffe, executive director, Singita Grumeti Fund, said. "He will be slowly acclimated to his new surroundings and we hope within 12 to 18 months he will be a wild, free-ranging black rhino."