The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) is planning to move 20 black rhinos from sanctuaries nationwide to Loisaba. Loisaba is a vast conservancy in the northern part of Kenya. Talking to the National Geographic , KWS conservation officer Michael Muga Maina and rhino officer Rita Orahle explain why this big beast relocation is vital.
Around 50 years ago, Kenya had more than 20,000 black rhinos. But in the 1970s and 1980s, 98% of them were killed by poachers. It was a national tragedy, but in recent years their numbers have begun to recover. They need a lot of space, and some sanctuaries are running out of it. This means there’s an opportunity for Loisaba to help by providing a safe haven for a breeding population.”,
Rhinos are a keystone species. We know they used to be here, so it makes sense to bring them back. Moving rhinos is technically challenging and their presence will place new demands on our team. But translocation is increasingly crucial in modern conservation, particularly in areas where wildlife corridors are blocked and human-wildlife conflict is escalating. For the first time since 1999, no rhinos were poached in Kenya in 2020. This fills us with hope.”,
Tourism is one of the greatest income earning contributor for the country. The Kenyan gorvement believes, 2000 black rhinos are required for it population to survive, despite growing threats such as habitat degradation and climate change.
Because translocating rhinos is a delicate process, it probably won’t be possible for tourists to witness it while it’s happening. However, at other times, visitors are welcome to meet me and my colleagues. We use EarthRanger software to log field updates from our rangers. The data feeds into live maps we can access via a touchscreen. In the future, Loisaba hopes to be one of the few places to offer tourists the chance to track black rhinos on foot, which will be really exciting and help raise the funds needed to sustain this project.”,