Celebrity rhino Kangombe comes to rest after 41 years
Kangombe, a black rhino bull, tracked and protected by Save the Rhino Trust operators since 1982, has found his last resting place in the shade of a milkbush. He was 41 years old and he had not been poached. Tragically, he succumbed to the extreme conditions as a result of the drought.
Kangombe’s death on 18 January this year was announced this week by the Save the Rhino Trust in the first edition of its revived newsletter, Bicornews.
“Since Save the Rhino Trust was founded in 1982, our trackers have followed a majestic male rhino that we called Kangombe, named after a Herero Chief. We have been witness to the long, healthy life of this rhino, a movie star who featured in a BBC Production, who aged gracefully for 41 years on these plains” said Ginger Mauney of the Rhino Trust.
“The natural order of life is complete for Kangombe and while we mourn him, [the Rhino Trust] is honoured to have been his companion during his long life. We are also proud that he was spared the indignity of losing his life to man’s greed, manifested daily, throughout Africa, in the slaughter of black rhinos for their horns” she stated.
The Rhino Trust’s CEO, Simson Uri-Khob said “We’ve been through tough years, hammered by drought and poaching, but still we are dedicated and committed to save the rhino for present and future generations, and we hope that the news we are spreading will be of benefit to all those who believe in fighting for the cause.”
Uri-Khob revealed that the Rhino Trust field teams now use sophisticated electronic surveillance and communication equipment in their constant, daily fight against poaching.
For Kangombe, the rains came too late, only in February and March. As a result of the drought, several rhinos were lost to natural causes. “While poaching is something that we can control to some extent, managing the draught is an impossible operation, and the rain gives us hope for the recovery and continued reproduction of these populations” said Uri-Khob.
“Our work would not be as successful without the assistance and support of the Minister, Pohamba Shifeta, the Permanent Secretary, Malan Lindeque, and directors and field staff of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism; as well as the Ministry of Justice and the Namibian Police, who are key figures in protecting our trackers and the rhino they watch over. We also recognise and applaud the support from our partners in local communities and conservancies who are dedicated to living with and protecting Namibia’s wildlife, including black rhino” he concluded.
The southern reaches of the Kaokoveld and the northern and central areas of Damaraland, today part of the Kunene region, are home to Africa’s only truly wild black rhino population. It is a very popular destination for adventure tourists who often join the monitoring groups of the Rhino Trust to track, find, view and observe a wild rhino in its natural environment.
In the picture is the Chief Executive of the Rhino Trust, Simson Uri-Khob next to a milkbush similar to where celebrity rhino bull, Kangombe laid down his head for the last time.