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KWS successfully moves black rhinos to a newly established sanctuary
Date Published: 05 Sep, 2013
The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has successfully translocated a number of rhinos from Lake Nakuru National Park and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy to the newly established Borana Rhino sanctuary in Laikipia.
The rhinos were moved from Lake Nakuru National Park while the others were translocated from Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. The composition was so designed to avoid in-breeding. The week-long exercise (August 26-31, 2013) was funded by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Zurich Zoo and US F&W in collaboration with Kenya Wildlife Service.
The translocation is aimed at establishing a new rhino population and keep the established populations in Lake Nakuru National Park and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy productive by maintaining their numbers below their ecological carrying capacity levels.
The rhino conservation policy since 1989 has centered on the creation of intensively protected fenced sanctuaries. Black rhino has steadily increased within the sanctuaries necessitating removals to avoid negative density dependent effects. However, many established sanctuaries still remain overstocked hence new secure habitats are required.
The current Conservation and Management Strategy for the Black Rhino in Kenya 2012-2016 sets targets on restocking former free ranging areas which can support large populations, as well as the creation of intensive Protection Zones (IPZ) and secure sanctuaries in order to achieve its strategic objective of population expansion to reach a confirmed total of 750 black rhinos by end of 2016.
Focus is placed on promoting creation of more government, private and community rhino sanctuaries to achieve the vision of a metapopulation of 2,000 black rhinos in Kenya managed in their natural habitat in the long term. Borana rhino sanctuary which is privately owned was one of the new areas targeted in the strategic plan for rhino population expansion.
WWF species manager, Robert Ndetei witnessed the translocation and pledged continued support to KWS in its quest to conserve the last great species and places on earth for humanity. He said the international body has had a long standing relationship with KWS and cited among others collaborations in the establishment of rhino sanctuaries among them Lake Nakuru, Tsavo West and the creation of Intensive Protection Zone (IPZ) in Tsavo West National park.
Mr Patrick Omondi, the KWS Deputy Director of Wildlife Conservation, thanked all partners who made the exercise successful. He said KWS will continue to partner with private land owners in the conservation of wildlife and commended the management of Borana Rhino Sanctuary for meeting the prerequisites for rhino conservation. He encouraged communities to set aside more land for wildlife conservation.