, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 3 – The Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) will this week relocate six black rhinos from Lake Nakuru National park to the Tsavo East National Park rhino sanctuary.
Last week 8 black rhinos were relocated from the Nairobi National Park to the said sanctuary.
The exercise launched last week by Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala will take three-weeks and is part of the broader plan in partnership with Wild Wide fund for nature-Kenya (WWF-K) to create more secure space with suitable habitat for the rhinos.
Of worth to note is the increase in rhino population.
By the end of 2017, Kenya had a rhino population of 1,258 (745 Black rhinos, 510 southern white rhinos and 3 Northern white rhinos, the only surviving northern White rhino Male died in March 2018, thus only 2 females remain) having grown from less than 400 rhinos in 1980’s.
KWS acting General Director General Julius Kimani attributed the increase in population to concerted efforts from KWS, private landholders, communities, county Governments, local and international partners.
“However these efforts must be sustained as the numbers remain relatively low and the species remains critically endangered,” he stated.
“This is due to increased demand in for rhino horn, inadequate financial resource, and limited secure space for expanding the rhino range.”
To achieve desired meta-population growth rates and strengthen national rhino population gene pool WWF Chief Executive Officer Mohamed Awer noted that rhino translocations and stocking density management are key biological management components.
“This is realized by translocation of unrelated individuals from different populations based on set percentage harvesting to maintain high growth for maintaining genetic diversity and rhino health in both the source and recipient population,” he said.
KWS Chairman, Board of Trustees, John Waithaka plans to launch the 6th edition of the Black Rhino Conservation Strategy and Action Plan (2017-2021) this month.
The overall goal of the Strategy and Action Plan is to achieve a meta-population (national herd) of 830 black rhinos by the end of 2021.