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White Rhino introduction in Kisumu Impala Sanctuary
Date Published: 15 Mar, 2012
The move to introduce the white rhino that was recently released at the Kisumu Impala Sanctuary was guided by Kenya’s policy concerning the protection of white rhino. The policy is meant to manage the species for community conservation, education and tourism and as a conservation resource for restocking white rhino ranges outside of Kenya.
The white rhino released recently in Kisumu Impala Sanctuary was raised at OlJogi and was then relocated to Mugie Ranch in Laikipia. However, because he had been raised by people he proved a security risk and was transferred to Nairobi NP. Here, in search of people (he is not afraid of people, quite the opposite) he took to leaving the park, despite the efforts of the rangers. There was a high likelihood that he would be poached as he was frequently near the fenceline. Significant security resources were thus being diverted to protect a single animal.
KWS considered various options including placing him in the Safari Walk but there is already a rhino there. Moving him to a fenced area such as Nakuru would have almost certainly lead to him fighting with other dominant white rhino bulls or to him walking the fenceline once more (which would have meant that a number of KWS rangers would have had to walk with him, thereby being diverted from their wider duties).
The decision was taken to send him to Kisumu Impala Sanctuary as guided by Kenya’s policy concerning the protection of white rhino, which is: to manage the species for community conservation, education and tourism and as a conservation resource for restocking white rhino ranges outside of Kenya.
KWS has a duty and a fundamental commitment to protecting and conserving Kenya’s wildlife heritage. However, inevitably there are certain individual wild animals that cannot be successfully returned to the wild, especially when they have been hand-reared, rescued or injured. KWS has genuinely evaluated the available options for this particular rhino but his previous history has made a wild life simply far too risky, particularly during these challenging times when rhino poaching is so intense (South Africa has lost over 100 rhino so far this year).
We appreciate the concerns for his welfare that have been expressed and believe his relocation to Kisumu is in his best interests.
For further information
Senior Assistant Director, Species Conservation and Management