A ranger on duty at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy (photo credit Martin Bauert)
“Who do these Rhinos belong to?”
asks a student on a game drive at one of Laikipia’s Rhino sanctuaries.
Laikipia prides itself as rhino country. We host 49% of Kenya’s black rhino population and 70% of the white rhino population. Laikipia has approximately 540 rhinos.
In addition, a breeding programme for the Northern White Rhino was recently established in Ol Pejeta Conservancy. Only three of these rhino remain in the whole WORLD!!
The rhino and efforts towards its conservation have promoted tourism, created jobs and enhanced security for the communities around Laikipia.
And while we celebrate our Laikipia rhino conservation efforts, conservancies still face the enormous challenges of poaching. During the period, 2008-2013 the upsurge in rhino poaching incidents in Laikipia was indeed dramatic: from 3 animals killed in 2006 to 59 rhinos poached in 2013.
While the challenges are still plenty, great strides continue to be made to overcome the poaching crisis.
The successes in rhino conservation boils down to a number of factors: better research, more community outreach, and habitat management, to name a few.
But the main asset in these efforts are the people on the frontline: the ranger teams working in these conservancies. Every day they are risking their lives to safeguard our county, national, and international wildlife treasure – the rhinoceros.
Our Conservancy ranger teams work closely with the Kenya Police and the Kenya Wildlife Service to stay ahead of the threat. They are trained regularly, and are supported by all sorts of technology that support their efforts. Each ranger is a member of an elite unit of Conservancy staff that receives refresher trainings.
Through the Laikipia Wildlife Forum (LWF), a grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior and the United States Agency for International Development in Kenya, was awarded to support the efforts of these three conservancies to:
- Enhance the ability of our rangers to do their job. This will be done through rangers’ trainings.
- Anti-poaching efforts: Our Rangers will be supported with special equipment and facilities to help them do their jobs better.
- Deterrence to Wildlife Trafficking: Our Rangers work with communities, conservancies, the police and KWS to monitor poachers, their locations, movement, and intention. This grant will help them improve these efforts
LWF is also leading a communications campaign aimed at helping more Laikipians appreciate the role of rhino conservation in our heritage, our economy, our international reputation as a tourism destination, and in our future land use.
More about the Rhino Sanctuaries
The Ol Pejeta Conservancy
Boasting the largest black rhino sanctuary in Kenya and Africa .Ol Pejeta is home to three of the world’s last remaining three northern white rhinos, and a sanctuary for 115 critically endangered black rhinos. The Conservancy employ highly trained rhino protection squads, partner with international veterinary experts and ensure data is gathered regularly on each individual animal. Steps like these ensure they remain a role model for rhino conservation in East Africa. The importance of Ol Pejeta to the future of Kenya’s rhino population cannot be overstated. Ol Pejeta Conservancy is 90,000 acres (360km2) acres
The Ol jogi Conservancy
Established over 60 years ago, today, the entire ranch provides a rhino sanctuary and is surrounded by an innovative ring fencing system to offer protection against poaching and facilitate extensive monitoring and security systems. Ol Jogi is 58,000 acres.
Borana is a non-profit conservation organisation dedicated to the sustainable conservation of critical habitat and wildlife. They are a sanctuary for both black and white rhinos which were introduced in from Lake Nakuru National Park and Lewa conservancy. The fence between conservancies – Lewa and Borana has been removed in one of the first efforts to increase rhino conservation and habitat by joining conservancy properties. Together these two conservancies are more than 94,000 acres.