Rhino populations across Africa and Asia have plummeted in recent decades. The main cause is poaching for the illegal wildlife trade, driven by a demand for rhino horn. Rhino horn is principally used in traditional medicines and tonics in parts of Asia, and as a high-end gift and investment.
Born Free works to protect black and white rhinos in Meru National Park by funding the vital work of Kenya Wildlife Service.
RHINO CONSERVATION EFFORT
KENYA WILDLIFE SERVICE RHINO SANCTUARY
LOCATION: Rhino Sanctuary, Meru Conservation Area, Kenya, East Africa.
GOAL: To protect and monitor black and white rhinos in Meru National Park’s Rhino Sanctuary.
THREATS: Due to its biological diversity and cultural history, the Meru Conservation Area is a critical landscape in Kenya. However, poachers in the late 1970s and 1980s decimated wildlife populations, particularly rhinos, elephants, and lions. Poaching to supply the illegal trade in horns is the main threat facing rhinos across Africa today. Horns are used to produce ornaments, as well as being used in Chinese medicine.
ACTIONS: In the 2000s, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) created a Rhino Sanctuary in the park, as part of their efforts to rebuild wildlife populations that had been wiped out. With funding and equipment from Born Free, KWS rangers carry out daily monitoring and patrols of the black and white rhino population in the Rhino Sanctuary.
Kenya now has the world’s largest population of rhinos after Namibia and South Africa, with numbers continuing to increase. However, the booming illegal wildlife trade means that the rhinos in Meru are still highly threatened by poaching. The KWS rangers patrol the Rhino Sanctuary daily, risking their lives to protect rhinos and other wild animals from poachers. Due to their efforts, rhino poaching in the Meru National Park is virtually non-existent.
It is vital that the rangers are supported in their daily activities to keep rhinos safe. Born Free provides financial support and equipment, such as solar panels and boots, to help the rangers to work in the most effective way.