KWS relocates black rhinos to Borana Ranch

August 28, 2013 7:56 am
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KWS Spokesperson Paul Muya told Capital FM News that this will align with the International Union for Conservation of Nature requirement of a minimum of 20 rhinos in a park/FILE
KWS Spokesperson Paul Muya told Capital FM News that this will align with the International Union for Conservation of Nature requirement of a minimum of 20 rhinos in a park/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 28 – The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has embarked on a relocation programme of 21 black rhinos from Lake Nakuru National Park to Borana Ranch in Samburu County.

KWS Spokesperson Paul Muya told Capital FM News that this will align with the International Union for Conservation of Nature requirement of a minimum of 20 rhinos in a park.

“We want to establish a viable stock of the recommended number by the International Union for Conservation of Nature of up to 21 rhinos,” he said.

Muya noted that the number of rhinos breeding at the Lake Nakuru National Park had increased enormously and creating concerns that it may lead to a food crisis for other wildlife at the park.

“We have currently 140 rhinos in the park,” he revealed.

He said this was also in an effort to acquire more space for the rhinos and also in a bid to establish more conservation areas.

“We have also a scientific prove that supports the new established stock; it has also enough food for the black rhino’s,” he said.

Lake Nakuru National Park also has white rhinos in addition to more than 5,000 grazers that include zebras, gazelles, hippopotamus, giraffes, warthogs and baboons.

Even as KWS continues with its conservation efforts, a civil servant was on Monday arraigned in court and charged with being in possession of 17 pieces of elephant tusks.

The officer, Michael Kyalo Mateng’e, who works in Mwingi East District, Kitui County was arrested over the weekend and charged before a Kitui Court.

Muya told Capital FM News that this is a result of the tough measures they have taken to curb poaching in the country.

He asked members of the pubic to join in the fight saying wildlife contributes highly to the economy of the country.

“The locals are the one being used to poach in a chain of cartels involved in poaching, if we work together, this war can be won,” he stated.

The officer was released on a bond of Sh5 million pending the hearing and determination of the case on September 9.

On August 22, a Chinese ivory smuggler was sentenced to two and a half years in prison in a landmark ruling hailed for sending a powerful warning to poachers and smugglers.

The illegal ivory trade, estimated to be worth between $7 billion and $10 billion a year, is mostly fuelled by demand in Asia and the Middle East, where elephant tusks and rhinoceros horns are used in traditional medicine and to make ornaments.

“A precedent has been set by this sentencing, it is a sign that our judiciary is waking up to the scale of the crisis and the damage that is being done to our animals,” KWS spokesman had told AFP.

Chen Biemei, 30, was jailed for 31 months for trying to smuggle 6.9 kilograms of worked ivory she had disguised as 15 bags of macadamia nuts.

Chen, who pleaded guilty, was stopped and arrested on August 14 as she tried to fly to Hong Kong.

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