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KWS to launch conservation and management strategy for the black rhino
Date Published: 12 Sep, 2012
The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) is set to launch the conservation and management strategy for the black rhino in Kenya (2012-2016) on September 19, 2012 at its headquarters in Lang’ata, Nairobi.
This is the fifth edition of Rhino Strategic Plan which re-focuses efforts on rhino conservation despite the ever increasing conservation challenges. This Strategic Plan has maintained Kenya’s vision to conserve at least 2000 black rhinos in the wild.
The Strategic Plan defines a revised overall goal of conserving at least 750 black rhinos by the end of 2016, achieving at least a five per-cent national growth rate and less than one per-cent man-induced and disease-related deaths.
It places emphasis is placed on: protection and law enforcement; monitoring for management; biological management; population expansion; awareness and public support and coordination and capacity. These objectives will be coordinated by a steering committee whose main role will be to monitor the implementation of the Strategic Plan.
The African black rhino is currently listed as “critically endangered” on the IUCN Red List. Over the last 20 years in particular, considerable money and resources have been expended in several African countries aimed at saving the black rhino from extinction. As a result, the declining trend has reversed and numbers are slowly increasing.
As at the end of 2011 Kenya had 623 black rhinos while Africa had a total of 4,880 black rhinos. However, Illegal demand for rhino horn resulting in poaching was, and continues to be, the major threat to persistence of all species of African rhinos.
It is speculated that the increase in poaching results from societal changes in some Asian countries where rhino horn is purported to cure cancer and other diseases. While scientists have proven that rhino has no medicinal value, these myths, combined with surging Asian economies, have put rhino horns in high demand.
Kenya has intensified its anti-poaching efforts by increasing the rhino ranger force by more than 25 percent during 2011, converting rhino scouts on private lands into Kenya Police Reservists, offering formal training of community scouts in wildlife protection, using sniffer dogs for monitoring and relocating rhinos from areas of high risk to areas of low risks.
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) wishes to thank all the donors, partners, private, community, county council areas who have continue to support the Rhino Programme achieve its objectives.