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Borana loses a rhino to poachers - suspects arrested

July 23, 2015

Borana Conservancy, Lewa's western neighbour and conservation partner, lost a rhino to poachers two weeks ago.

This is Borana's first loss since the Conservancy received its pioneering population of 21 black rhino in 2013, a brave venture that was a culmination of many years of planning and was a welcome move to expand black rhino habitat in the country. In another unprecedented step, Lewa and Borana removed the fence separating the two properties in September of last year to create a 93,000-acre rhino habitat. This was the first time in the country that two privately-run properties had made such a move for the benefit of one of the country's most endangered species. Last year, this landscape was one of the few, if not the only one in Kenya, to prevent any poaching of its rhino. 

This incident is however a harsh reminder of the threat that continues to exert pressure on all areas holding rhino. 

Lewa's CEO Mike Watson says:
"The Borana team has done a fantastic job protecting their stock since they received rhino in 2013. Rhino conservation is one of the riskiest, most costly conservation undertakings any organisation can choose to engage in, with the price of rhino horn soaring in the black market and poaching gangs becoming increasingly sophisticated. For Borana to fully protect a population for close to two years is an immense achievement, and we are standing close to them at this time, ensuring they receive all the support they need."

After an exhaustive investigation by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Borana, Lewa and community elders, a team from the KWS and Kenya Police have since arrested two men suspected of being involved in the killing. This has opened up a huge amount of new information that shall hopefully help in prosecuting those individuals intent on destroying Kenya’s national heritage.