John the rhino is dead

A screen-capture from the Grumeti website shows the announcement of the rhino’s death earlier this year.

The front page of the December 8 Guardian newspaper asks, ‘where is John the black rhino,’ a Xinhua news article calls his disappearance ‘mysterious’ and the Daily News says John’s whereabouts are ‘shrouded in mystery.’

John the rhino was thrust into the limelight on Tuesday, December 6, when Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa asked the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) to explain why the rhino was ‘secretly transferred’ to ‘VIP Grumet Serengeti [sic]’  for 200 million TSH ($92,000 USD) and asked to know ‘John’s current whereabouts.’

The location in question is the Grumeti game reserve, a 350,000 acre concession of land on the north-western edge of the Serengeti.

We’re not going to get into Majaliwa’s allegation, but let’s lay one thing to rest: according to the reserve, John the rhino is not missing, he’s dead.

A Google search for “Grumeti + rhino + John” shows that the Grumeti game reserve announced John the rhino died sometime shortly before September 12, 2016.

“We are sad to report that the bull rhino, John, has passed away.  He was translocated to the concession in December [2015] from Ngorongoro Conservation Area.  John’s legacy remains as he sired many calves in his day, making a significant impact on the rhino population in Tanzania … he joined us at the old age of 38 … His passing occurred naturally and in peace.” says the Grumeti website.

The typical lifespan of the critically endangered black rhino is 35 years.

Editor’s note 12/09/16: corrected date in second paragraph. 12/13/16: date correction in fifth paragraph.

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