Tanzanians may have to wait until the end of they year to see the return of the first of five black rhinos exported to South Africa in the 1980s. The first rhino had been due to arrive in June following negotiations with the South African government but the transfer has now reportedly been postponed. The reason for the delay is not clear, although recent elections in South Africa or the cost to Tanzania of flying the mammals into the country could be to blame. Air freight costs are estimated at $100,000 per animal, with each needing its own cargo plane.
The rhinos were transferred to South Africa from Tanzania as part of efforts to protect the dwindling rhino population, which at the time was under pressure from poachers seeking their precious horns. Local media reports suggest the returned animals will be placed in the Ngorongoro conservation area.
In 2003 there were 3,610 black rhinos in Africa according to the most recent figures on the International Rhino Foundation