Kenya’s rhino population rises 11 pct amid zero poaching in 2020: IFAW

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Measures put in place by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and partners like IFAW ensured the safety of Rhinos in Kenya in 2020. /CFP Image
Measures put in place by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and partners like IFAW ensured the safety of Rhinos in Kenya in 2020. /CFP Image

An international wildlife organization said Friday there was an 11 percent increase in rhino numbers in Kenya from 1,441 in 2019 to 1,605 in 2020 and no rhinos were lost to poaching last year.

James Isiche, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) regional director for East Africa said the last eight years have seen a continuous decline in rhino poaching incidents, which is a testament to the measures put in place to safeguard rhinos.

Isiche said the COVID-19 pandemic elicited fears of an increase in wildlife poaching. However, he said measures put in place by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and partners like IFAW ensured the safety of these prehistoric animals highly sought after for their horns.

“We congratulate all wildlife security partners and agencies for this major achievement in fighting wildlife crime and keeping Kenya’s rhinos safe. We are glad that the rhino population in Kenya has increased and for the first time in a long time had no rhinos die due to poaching,” Isiche said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

He said IFAW is glad to have a long-standing partnership with KWS and lauded the staff who put their lives in harm’s way just to ensure that Kenya’s wildlife heritage is preserved.

In 2015, KWS put in place a forensic laboratory with a genetic database of rhino and elephant DNA as well as a monitoring system to help obtain critical data, which enables scientists to track endangered species and, if needed, link them to suspected poachers.

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