Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has said that no rhino were poached in Kenya in 2020 – the first time since 1999. Elephant poaching has also reduced from 350 lives lost five years ago, to 11 in 2020, which is the lowest recorded yearly total.
Penny Banham, Born Free’s Conservation Projects Officer, said: “For so long, rhinos and elephants have been decimated by poaching, reducing their numbers to record lows. While Africa’s rhinos are by no means safe from extinction, the co-ordinated efforts of KWS and many other organisations, including Born Free, to stop poaching, is beginning to turn the tide for rhinos and elephants. This achievement is especially significant given the drop in tourism revenue in Kenya due to the global pandemic and the fear that poaching would increase because of economic hardship and reduced presence of rangers on the ground.
“This news comes as a beacon of hope for conservation, but should act to embolden everyone to continue to tackle the acute threats rhinos and elephants face through anti-poaching measures, population management, human-wildlife conflict mitigation and critically, by raising awareness and empowering local communities to protect wildlife,” Banham added.
Born Free has been working to protect rhinos in Meru National Park – the home of Elsa the lioness – through our support for KWS rangers. We also work to conserve savannah and forest elephants through our support for Amboseli Trust for Elephants, in Kenya, and Elephant Research and Conservation, in Liberia.