Date Published:

Thursday, February 4, 2021 - 13:45

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) is undertaking a black rhino ear notching exercise, fitting of horn transmitters and microchips in Tsavo East National Park as a routine management intervention in the free ranging population, as part of the implementation of the Black Rhino Recovery and Action Plan.

The Assistant Director in charge of Tsavo East National Park Capt. Kenneth Ochieng says, their target was 12 rhinos but have managed to get six (6) since the exercise started. Capt. Ochieng said, “our initial target was to get 12 rhinos however that has changed to 10 because we have established that two (2) rhinos are heavily pregnant and one (1) has a day old baby.”

The exercise entails cutting off a combination of small section(s) of the ear in a V shape to give an individual rhino a unique identification feature. This enhances rhino monitoring and provides accurate population estimates as guided by IUCN Species Survival Commission African Rhino Specialist Group rhino monitoring protocol. The activity is being undertaken with aircraft support from National Air Services Department (NASD) and Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (SWT).

Kenya is the strong hold of the eastern black rhinocerous (Dicerous bicornis michaeli) hosting slightly above 800 individuals managed as a meta-population (national herd). It accounts for approximately 80% of the sub species. This exercise is undertaken at a time when the country has made significant steps in managing rhino poaching with no case reported in 2020 a fete last achieved over 2 decades ago.