Team formed to probe death of John the Rhino

THE government has formed a team of experts to investigate the death of a ferocious rhinoceros, christened John, and ordered a DNA test on its remnants.

Announcing the formation of the team here yesterday, the Prime Minister, Mr Kassim Majaliwa, added that the grave of the animal should also be exposed. He further reported that the team had already arrived in Sasakwa VIP Grumeti Reserve to look for John's grave and conduct the DNA test on its remnants.

The premier directed the team to conduct its activities thoroughly as the government had spent a lot of money in airlifting the rhinos from South Africa.

I received the relevant report regarding the rhino's shifting -- from Ngorongoro and its eventual death in Serengeti -- in addition to getting two horns believed to belong to the dead mammal, said Premier Majaliwa at the end of his week-long tour of Arusha Region.

But after going through all the details, I found out there were still some glaring holes that need to be filled. For instance, why did the animal die while there have been no previous reports of it being sick? queried the PM, who now wants a veterinary and zoological experts' report on the matter.

Mr Majaliwa also wanted to make sure that the horns he received actually belonged to the said rhino.

He has thus sent the special team of experts to go down the crater and take samples of Deoxyribonucleic Acid from the offspring of 'Mr John' to find out whether the DNA matches with that of the horns delivered to his office last week.

During his visit to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area recently, the prime minister was told about the missing rhino, with some quarters suggesting that it was probably sold. But it was later reported that 'John' had died while being kept in the private Sasakwa Grumeti Reserve where it was relocated after reportedly causing chaos in the crater, where it used to attack other mammals in its quest for territorial supremacy around the caldera.

On December 8 this year, Mr Majaliwa promised to work on a report on the transfer of Black Rhino John from Ngorongoro to Sasakwa Black Rhino Sanctuary in Grumeti.

Speaking at his Oysterbay residence in Dar es Salaam after officials from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism presented him with the rhino's two horns weighing 3.6 and 2.3 kilogrammes, the premier vowed to leave no stone unturned in pursuance of the issue.

He said he had received the ministry's report on the matter on the night of December 8 but promised to meet them after Uhuru Day celebrations to discuss the matter. Presenting the report, the minister, Prof Jumanne Maghembe, said as of December

Source: Daily News