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For Immediate Release—19-10-2022

For Immediate Release—19-10-2022

Munu happily checking out his new boma!

MUNU—THE BLIND BLACK RHINO WHO HAS INSPIRED A BREEDING PROGRAM TO PROTECT HIS SPECIES.

In late 2018, rangers in South Africa’s Addo Elephant National Park discovered that one of their prized black rhino bulls was behaving erratically in the park. Munu, as the rhino was named at his birth some 16 years before, was darted and thoroughly inspected. It was discovered that he was not only irreversibly blind but that he was also an increasingly rare subspecies of black rhino.

The South African National Parks (SANParks) immediately found help in conservationist Brett Barlow, who took over Munu’s care under a custodianship agreement. Along with eco-tourism stalwart Adrian Gardiner and The White Lion Foundation, Munu found sanctuary at Mantis Founder’s Lodge, where a safe and secure boma was created specifically for him. His future was secured.

It was there that American actress and conservationist, Shannon Elizabeth, joined this epic story of hope. “I met Munu while visiting the area and immediately felt a deep pull to him and his future. Brett asked my foundation to assist, and we have jointly participated in his care ever since. It was evident even then that his story was unique but also that his future needed to be secured with compassion, dignity, and purpose, and this would be best served through a breeding program in his honor to help to restore the population of his subspecies”, says Shannon, whose nonprofit, the Shannon Elizabeth Foundation has been steadily increasing its impact in the region since early 2019. Barlow concurs that Munu is extraordinary: “In my custodianship agreement with the authorities, we agreed to find a way to breed Munu. He may be blind, but his genetics are pristine, and he is otherwise in great health. Not finding a way to breed him would be an opportunity lost for conservation at large.”

The Shannon Elizabeth Foundation, which now officially runs the Munu conservation initiative, immediately started working with the SANParks team to find a suitable location for a breeding facility. So, it is with great excitement and optimism that the parties recently announced the imminent opening of a facility to care for Munu and his species in South Africa. With details tightly guarded for security purposes, the news has been met with support from all involved.

“The Cape is a very special and natural home to black rhinos with abundant land, suitable vegetation, and the right climate to see them thrive. We are very pleased that Munu will continue to receive unrivaled care and kindness as he is moved to a piece of land that is more suitable for the task at hand”, said Gardiner. “We have a rich legacy of conservation in the region. It is exciting that Munu will now carry this shared legacy forward for future generations.”

Barlow concluded by saying, “I know that if Munu could speak, he would voice his gratitude to all involved in his journey so far. We see this in his gentle actions daily. Having unified support from all involved will ensure his bright future and that of the entire species. It’s a story that reminds us that when we are aligned in the best interests of our natural heritage, we can find lasting success together.”

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For enquiries, please contact the author, the Shannon Elizabeth Foundation, at info@shannonelizabeth.org.

Munu enjoying some sunshine at his new facility