Kenya: Black Rhino Population Doubled in Last 3 Decades

Black Rhino
September 22, 2023

The population of black rhino in Kenya has increased more than double its previous number of fewer than 400 in 1989 to the current estimated population of about 960. According to the Principal Secretary (PS) for the State Department for Wildlife (SDW), Ms. Silvia Museiya, Kenya projects to have 2,000 black rhinos over the next 14 years from current 960, with strategic rhino conservation interventions.

Ms. Museiya said that the Government supports initiatives by the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) to expand the rhino range through opening up of new rhino sanctuaries and restocking of rhino sanctuaries that are below their carrying capacities.

The Principal Secretary who was speaking at the KWS headquarters in Nairobi at the launch of 7th Edition of the Recovery and Action Plan for Black Rhino 2022-2026 said such efforts will solve the rhino deaths caused by fight for territories by the animals and suppressed growth rates because of reducing spaces for the rhinos.

Black rhino

Ms. Museiya said, it was encouraging that private and community landowners have expressed interest to collaborate with the government in rhino conservation in attempts to expanding the rhino range. She said the government was committed to realizing the potential for expanding existing areas particularly securing the Tsavo West National Park Intensive Protection Zone (IPZs) which has the capacity to host a large number of rhinos for the long-term survival.

The Permanent Secreatary said there was urgent need to deal with causes and impacts of climate change which have led to unpredictable seasons, prolonged droughts and resource which constrains rhino habitats. She commended the rhino conservation areas in the national parks, national reserves, private, and community lands for their efforts to conserve the rhinos.

She explained that efforts to safeguard the black rhino population were bolstered by the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act (WCMA), 2013 which introduced punitive penalties for wildlife crimes particularly for the critically endangered species. She observed that intensive national security surveillance and support from the international community also significant fight against the illegal wildlife trade and reduced rhino poaching in the country

The black rhino is classified as Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna & Flora (CITES). The classification and listing are based on the great challenges confronting the rhino species.

Kenya has the third largest black and white rhino population in the world, after South Africa and Namibia. The black and white rhino are the only two species found in Africa while three other species: the greater one–horned, the Sumatran and Javan rhino species are found in Asia.

Principal Secretary for the State Department for Wildlife (SDW), Ms. Silvia Museiya

Meanwhile, in line with the government directive that all Public officers sign Performance Contracts outlining their targets, Principal Secretary, Ms. Silvia Museiya on 20th September signed performance Contracts with Heads of Departments. Signing of the Performance Contract aims to promote efficient & effective delivery of services to Kenyans by setting specific targets to be achieved within a specified time to meet the needs and expectations of the citizens.

Ms. Museiya said the officers need to be familiar with the targets they were signing for and ensure implementation within the indicated period. The PS directed Heads of Departments to adopt systems that are innovative and friendly to user needs. She directed public officers to implement government directive on digitization of services and ensure the services are available on E-Citizen Platform.

She reiterated the need for teamwork as key to achieving the objectives of the government. “It is my responsibility to provide the required leadership in designing suitable plans and strategies that will contribute to high and sustainable socioeconomic development. In this regard, I will ensure that this State Department executes the Bottom Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA) that will contribute to foreign exchange earnings to stabilize the Kenya shilling and contribute to employment creation, conservation management and sustainable use of wildlife.”

This, she noted, will be realized through having a credible strategic plan and performance contract that will deliver the desired goals.

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