Kenya Relocates 21 Black Rhinos to Loisaba Conservancy

Kenya has launched its largest single rhino relocation mission ever, monitoring, darting, and transporting 21 critically endangered rhinos hundreds of miles in trucks to a new home.

The previous attempt to relocate rhinos in the East African nation in 2018 was a disaster, with all 11 animals dying.

The current project also encountered early difficulties, as a rhino slated for relocation on Tuesday was not calmed by a tranquilizer dart thrown from a helicopter by a wildlife ranger.

Rangers attempted to detain the rhino with a rope, but it fell into a creek, prompting the team to release the animal to ensure its safety.

Wildlife officials have stressed the project will be difficult and take time, likely weeks.

The black rhinos being relocated are a mix of males and females, and they are being moved from three conservation parks to the private Loisaba Conservancy in central Kenya, according to Kenya Wildlife Service.

The migration demonstrates Kenya’s relative success in restoring its black rhino population, which fell below 300 in the mid-1980s due to poaching, sparking concerns that the creatures could be wiped out permanently in a country known for its diverse wildlife.

Kenya now boasts approximately 1,000 black rhinos, according to the wildlife department. This is the world’s third largest black rhino population, behind South Africa and Namibia.

According to rhino conservation charity Save The Rhino, there are only 6,487 wild rhinos left in the world, and they are solely found in Africa.

The rhinos are being relocated because there are too many in the three parks, and they require more room to wander and, ideally, breed.

“The existing sanctuaries have become overcrowded and that’s another challenge. So, we have become a victim of our own success, where you will have territorial fighting and male rhinos killing each other,” Tom Sylvester, the chief executive of Loisaba Conservancy explained.

Rhinos are generally solitary animals, especially the males, and are at their happiest in large territories.

Kenyan authorities say they have relocated more than 150 rhinos in the past decade.

Six years ago, Kenya relocated 11 rhinos from Nairobi to a different sanctuary in the south of the country. All of them died soon after arriving at the sanctuary.

“It is very important that we learn from mistakes of the past – it was that things like water conditions were critically important… So, habitat water and then security,” Sylvester said.

Some of the 21 rhinos, each weighing more than a ton, are being transported from Nairobi National Park to Loisaba via truck, covering 300 kilometers (186 miles). Others will travel from parks closer to Loisaba.

Kenyan wildlife officials said the government hopes to increase its black rhino population to 2,000, which they believe is the perfect number given the space available in national and private parks.

Written by PH

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

AFCON 2023: Burkina Faso Stuns Mauritania in Dying Minutes

Turkish Court Convicts Somali President’s Son over Motorcyclist’s Death