DO RHINOS HAVE A FUTURE

The only way to save rhinos, like Lola, from extinction is by providing a secure habitat for them to live. Ol Pejeta Conservancy started with only 4 black rhinos in 1988, today the number has grown to 114. Latiri’s calf is one of the 14 black rhinos born here last year.

In 1970 Kenya had 20,000 black rhinos, by 1989 only 400 were left. Most were killed for their horns, prized in Asia for folk medicine. But rhino horns are made from keratin just like fingernails. A kg of rhino horn fetches $60,000 on the black market.

Head of Wildlife, Samuel Mutisya, outlines the day’s rhino watch. Every animal is under surveillance, by unarmed rangers. They have to spot every rhino at least once every three days. If they’re missing armed police and canine units are sent out to investigate.

Three rhinos were killed by poachers last year. They and other rhinos that were poached since 2004 are remembered in Ol Pejeta’s Rhino cemetery. Steve Elim, the Conservancy’s Wildlife Monitoring Supervisor, knows their tragic stories.

30 rhinos were darted and ear notched last year, to help identify and protect them. It costs $10,000 a year to watch and secure every one of Ol Pejeta’s rhinos, but the wildlife here is meant to pay its own way.

Ol Pejeta Conservancy strives to conserve all the animals on its once degraded rangelands by generating enough income from wildlife tourism and fundraising, while providing jobs for 1000 local people.

Website by Appropriate. Photos by Andrew Tkach and Ol Pejeta.