Tanzania Plans Tony Fitzjohn Memorial Museum for Mkomazi

Tanzania, in association with International Conservation Communities, is in the process of establishing a special Museum in honor of the Mkomazi Rhino Project founder, the late Tony Fitzjohn.

The Tanzania National Parks’ Assistant Conservation Commissioner, Emmanuel Moirana reveals here that the new Museum will be built at Kisima, inside the Mkomazi National Park where Sir Fitzjohn spent much of his life, in Tanzania.

“Other than honouring the work of the late Tony, we intend to erect special plaques to mark the special visits from both Prince William of Wales and his brother, Prince Harry, from the United Kingdom, who have been spending time in Mkomazi.

Prince Harry visited Mkomazi in 2015 and spent an entire week inside the National Park.

On the other hand, Prince William, then the Duke of Edinburgh visited Mkomazi in September 2018 and camped at Kisima for three consecutive days.

Tony and the World Dogs

Legendary Conservationist Sir Anthony Raymond Fitzjohn, who initiated the Black Rhino Project at the Mkomazi National Park, in Kilimanjaro, passed away in May 2022.

The late Tony Fitzjohn who inherited his traits from the late George Adamson, his mentor, during their time at Kora National Park in Kenya, also founded the maiden African Wild Dog breeding program at Mkomazi.

Tony was also the trainer for other wildlife trainers.

Fitzjohn did a number of wildlife-based documentaries including the wildly popular ‘The Leopards of Kora’ and ‘To Walk with Lions!’

His documentaries were mostly inspired by his lifelong passion for wildlife conservation efforts across the Eastern Africa region.

Like his mentor, the late George Adamson of Kenya, Tony cultivated strong passion for wildlife but especially lions, though in Tanzania he was especially devoted to the black rhinos.

In fact it was his rhino sanctuary and the program for breeding and releasing endangered African wild dogs earned Tony Fitzjohn the prestigious Order of the British Empire (OBE), awarded to him by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of England.

But during his lifetime Tony Fitzjohn continued to believe that George Adamson, who was killed in 1989 allegedly by Somali Bandits in Kenya, was murdered by design to stop his conservation work.

Fitzjohn was once quoted as saying that Adamson’s work at Kora may have gained him global approval, but there were still a number of people who hated the development as they were gaining a lot from the chaotic Kora.

All the same, both Fitzjohn and Adamson succeeded in reintroducing more than 30 lions and 10 leopards into the wild.

 In 1989, the Government of Tanzania invited the George Adamson Wildlife Preservation Trust (GAWPT) to assist in the rehabilitation programme for Mkomazi, including restoration of habitat and re-introduction and breeding programmes for the highly endangered wild dog and black rhinoceros.

The recovery of the Mkomazi National Park was accomplished through efforts of the Wildlife Division and the GAWPT.

It involved extensive rehabilitation of the infrastructure of the Reserve, with work activities bolstered by local community involvement and projects linked to wildlife protection and maintaining the integrity of the Mkomazi National Park.

Tanzania gazetted Mkomazi, formerly a Game Reserve, to National Park status in 2008. It is mapped within 3,270 square kilometers of land.

Until 2019 the Mkomazi Rhino Project in the Park was being managed by Lucy and Tony Fitzjohn and now runs under the Tanzania National Parks.