Black Rhinos and Rain!
A couple of weeks ago Seiya went missing for a period of nearly ten days. When we consulted our breeding charts we became suspicious that she may have produced a baby and gone into hiding. We deployed many rangers, found her in a bush - but unapproachable. With the assistance of the Supercub were able to confirm that she had indeed calved and proved the accuracy of our records.
Seiya, a third generation female black rhino in Lewa has given birth to her second calf. This raises the total number of black rhinos in the Conservancy to 55 animals, and represents over 10% of Kenya's population that currently stand at 539. Seiya's Age at First Calving was 5.5 years. She is among the very few rhinos to have ever calved at such a tender age in Kenya (female black rhinos mature at 7.0 years). Seiya's inter-calving interval was 2.7 years which is on the right scale when compared against standard benchmarks for evaluating the performance of black rhino populations in Africa. Three calves have been born in Lewa since January 2007, and we are expecting four more before the close of the year. This compares well with the eight calves born in 2006 and demonstrates the unsurpassed performance of the Conservancy as a key sanctuary for breeding rhinos in the country.
The white rhino population has remained at 37 following the translocation of seven individuals to Ol Pejeta in the last 18 months. These movements are meant to balance the skewed sex ratio in Lewa and establish a founder population of breeding white rhinos at Ol Pejeta.
We are also experiencing some very unseasonable rain at the moment. In the past week we have had over 70mm of rain (including 57mm in a three hour period!). The last time we had over 30mm of rain was in 1991. Indeed since records began in 1975 we have had over 25mm only three times. Although it is very good for the wildlife our visitors are a little constrained!