Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said on Monday it has so far trans-located 14 black rhinos from two national parks to boost populations of the iconic species.
KWS deputy spokesman Paul Muya said that four rhinos were trans-located from Nakuru and 10 others from Lewa National Parks to a sanctuary within the community owned and operated Sera Community Conservancy in Isiolo in eastern Kenya to help enhance protection and their comfort.
The conservationist hoped the presence of the black rhinos in Samburu county would provide job opportunity for the local community.
The move was also hoped to boost tourism in the area.
This will be the first time in East Africa a local community will be responsible for the protection and management of the highly threatened black rhino, signalling a shift in the mindset in Kenya’s conservation efforts.
According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the population of the eastern black rhino (Diceros bicornis michaeli) plummeted by 98 percent between 1960 and 1995 primarily as a result of poaching and hunting.
Kenya’s rhino population has increased from 381 since 1987 to a current estimate of 640. It is projected to rise significantly in the near future, especially with growing partnerships between government, communities and conservation organisations. It is hoped that the new rhino sanctuary would benefit Kenya’s black rhino population
Sera Community Conservancy, established in 2001, is governed by a council of elders, an elected board of trustees, a management team and the residing communities which include the Samburu, Rendille and Borana.