Kenyan nature reserve welcomes new baby rhino

Posted on diciembre, 16 2004

WWF welcomes the birth of a black rhinoceros in a nature sanctuary in northern Kenya.
Laikipia District, Kenya - A black rhinoceros translocated from Lake Nakuru National Park to the newly created Mugie Ranch rhino sanctuary in northern Kenya has given birth to a baby girl — the first black rhino birth in the area in 25 years.

The mother was one of 20 black rhinos translocated from Nairobi National Park, Lake Nakuru National Park, and Solio Ranch in Laikipia District, in July 2004. The translocation exercise, supported by WWF, was the first major activity of its kind in the region in the past six years. 

“WWF aims at conserving the black rhino by both protecting and increasing their numbers," said Anne Mugo, Species and Savannah Programme Manager for the WWF Eastern Africa Regional Programme Office (EARPO) in Nairobi. 

"Expanding existing sanctuaries or creating new ones is one of the methods used to increase numbers. We resettle them in new areas where they can multiply and be protected from poachers."
The black rhino (Diceros bicornis) has suffered a catastrophic decline across Africa over the last two decades, both in numbers and extent of its range. Kenya, one of the most affected range states, saw its black rhino population plummet from 20,000 in 1970 to less than 400 by the early 1980s. The decline was due to escalating poaching driven by an insatiable demand for rhino horn in the Middle East and East Asia. 

In response, the government of Kenya adopted a National Black Rhino Conservation Strategy and Management Plan in 1993, pioneering the establishment of "rhino sanctuaries" where animals are managed in small, often fenced, and well-protected areas.

Since 1984, WWF has been supporting the establishment and expansion of rhino sanctuaries by funding fence construction, rehabilitation, and maintenance. Support has also included funding for translocation and black rhino protection activities.

"The goal of WWF’s black rhino project is to help Kenya increase its population of black rhinos in their natural habitats by at least 5 per cent per year, in order to reach 500 by 2005 and 1,000 by 2020," Mugo said. 

The latest findings show black rhino numbers have increased to just over 3,600, a rise of 500 over the last two years.

"The recent birth of the baby rhino is a good indication that the rhino population will grow fast in this new sanctuary. This is definitely good news for the endangered species," Mugo added.
For further information:
Anne Mugo, WWF-EARPO
Species and Savanna Programme Manager
Tel: +254 2 577355

Samuel Mikenga, Communications Manager
Black rhinos(Diceros bicornis) locking horns in Kenya's Lake Nakuru National Park.
© WWF / Martin Harvey
The newly born black rhino staying close to its mother at the Mugie Ranch sanctuary in northern Kenya.
© Mugie Ranch