In 2013, after a trip to Samburu, Nakuru, Amboseli and Masaai Mara, the one disturbing theme was “There used to be rhinos here.” Aside from an occasional siting on the Mara, rhinos had vanished, wiped from what used to be their home.
In contrast Ol Pejeta was maintaining a safe haven for both white and black rhinos within the sanctuary.
Black rhino at Ol Pejeta.
But today, there is something stirring in the bush that wasn’t there on my trip-hope.
In 2015, with combined efforts of Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) and Lewa Conservancy, several black rhinos were reintroduced to Samburu. They have been relocated to a 21,000 acre sanctuary in Sera Community Conservancy with hopes they will slowly reestablish a population in the area.
Inside Sera’s translocation, photo courtesy of Lewa Wildlife Conservancy
This is the first time in Kenya, a community is responsible for the protection and management of black rhino, as it is usually a goverment led initiative.
In February of 2017, the Sera conservancy will launch a black rhino tracking safari to further their investment in tourism.
Additionally, both Ol Pejeta Conservancy and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy have been successful in maintaining a healthy, breeding population of black rhinos. In fact, so much so, they have run into the situation of reaching maximum capacity.
The success of both sanctuaries stems from their surrounding areas; it is a symbiotic relationship when communities see the financial benefit from tourism, and ultimately the key to keeping the rhino alive.