Borana Rhino Sanctuary receives first rhinos as the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has successfully trans-located a number of rhinos from Lake Nakuru National Park and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy to the newly established Borana Rhino sanctuary in Laikipia.
The rhinos were moved from Lake Nakuru National Park while the others were trans-located from Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. The composition was so designed to avoid in-breeding. The week-long exercise (August 26-31, 2013) was funded by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Zurich Zoo and US F&W in collaboration with Kenya Wildlife Service.
The trans-location is aimed at establishing a new rhino population and keeping the established populations in Lake Nakuru National Park and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy productive by controlling their numbers below the ecological carrying capacity levels of the respective areas.
Kenya’s rhino conservation policy since 1989 has centered on the creation of highly protected fenced sanctuaries. Black rhino numbers have steadily increased within the sanctuaries necessitating removals to avoid overpopulating any one area. However, many established sanctuaries still remain overstocked so secure new habitats are required.
Goal of 750 black rhino
The current Conservation and Management Strategy for the Black Rhino in Kenya 2012-2016 sets targets on restocking former free ranging areas which can support large populations, as well as the creation of intensive Protection Zones (IPZ) and secure sanctuaries in order to achieve its strategic objective of population expansion to reach a confirmed total of 750 black rhinos by end of 2016.
Focus is placed on promoting creation of more government, private and community rhino sanctuaries to achieve the vision of a population of 2,000 black rhinos in Kenya managed in their natural habitat in the long term. Borana rhino sanctuary, which is privately owned, was one of the new areas targeted in the strategic plan for rhino population expansion.