After a 25 year absence due to poaching, black rhinos are being reintroduced to Samburu country in Kenya.
Thanks to a newly formed conservation organisation, Sera Community Conservancy, and the work of the Samburu people in tribal Kenya, twenty endangered black rhinos are being shipped to north Kenya from other populations in national parks around the country. The rhinos will live in the Sera Community Conservancy, owned and operated by local people- the first such project of its kind. To deter the poachers that led to the demise of the animal in this area, community park rangers will patrol the area of the conservancy. From a population of more than 70,000 wild black rhinos in the 1960s, there are now less than 5,000. Projects such as this, where the conservationists hope to see the animals reproduce in the wild, are therefore of great importance to the natural world.
The Samburu people are a semi-nomadic tribe, related to the Masai, who live a semi-arid area north of the equator. National Geographic photographer Ami Vitale, who is documenting the project found out that many local people had never seen a rhino, and did not know what to expect when they arrived.
“Some thought they would have spots and others thought their horn would be flexible, like an elephant’s trunk.”
“Much needed attention has been focused on the plight of wildlife but very little has been said about the indigenous communities on the front lines of the poaching wars,” Vitale adds.
H/T Nat Geo
Image credit: Ami Vitale, for National Geographic