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Black Rhino Looks Tough, But is Powerless at the Hands of Man

  • Wednesday, May 12, 2004

The African Wildlife Foundation has been committed to rhino conservation for nearly 20 years. A large portion of funding has gone to support black rhino protection and conservation at Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary in Tsavo East National Park, Kenya.

The most recent support to help protect this endangered species included communication equipment and $15,000. AWF President and CEO Patrick Bergin presented these gifts to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) in January.

The black rhino population in the Tsavo ecosystem in Kenya was estimated at 6,000-8,000 in the 1970s. By 1989, there were no more than 20 remaining. Man is the rhino's primary predator and poaching for horns decimated the population in Kenya and throughout Africa.

This dramatic decline led to the creation of Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary in 1985. The sanctuary started with just three rhinos in an area of less than one square mile. Today, Ngulia is over 38 square miles and has 57 rhinos. More than half were born there.

Today black rhinos are protected primarily in fenced sanctuaries like Ngulia. These small populations hold the future of the species. Only in these areas can they reproduce in relative safety from poachers. Tragically, last May, two KWS rangers were killed in a valiant effort to protect rhinos from poachers.

AWF's continued support helps in several areas, from expanding the sanctuary to accommodate the growing population to providing tools and equipment to help the rangers in their work. AWF also encourages more collaborative efforts among the KWS, local communities, and other organizations working in the area. All of these efforts will increase protection for the black rhino, other endangered wildlife, and those who work hard to safeguard them.

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