Rhinos on Lewa
The Black Rhino (Diceros Bicornis)
From 1970 to the early 1980s the numbers and range of black rhino in Africa declined drastically. In Kenya alone, the population dropped from 20,000 to less than 300 due to illegal killing for rhino horn. This represents a loss of 4.5 rhinos a day for 10 years. To date, there are about 620 black rhino in Kenya, and 70 of them, at the time of writing, live on the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy as our flagship species.
Our high-performance research and security teams monitor black rhino in a protected environment, combining age-old wisdom and cutting-edge technology. We aim to understand the species, enhance growth rates, and withstand the threat of poaching. Aided by our highly trained security personnel, Lewa continues to be Kenya’s leading catalyst for endangered wildlife conservation.
Sustaining Healthy Rhino Populations
Since 2000, Lewa’s black rhino population growth rate has averaged 10 percent – higher than the national target of 6 percent. This is made possible by our extensive rhino-suitable habitats and the fact that the majority of the animals are in the breeding stage.
- The Conservancy aims to maintain the rhino numbers below the ECC (the maximum population sustainable in an ecosystem) in order to keep the population healthy and growing
- Lewa translocates rhino to newly established conservancies that have suitable conditions such as adequate security, land and food
- We monitor the biological information of each rhino in order to predict trends, avoid inbreeding, and protect them from being poached
- To identify the rhino our vet carries out “ear-notching”, a way of permanently distinguishing one individual from another
- This expensive yet crucial activity allows us to gather important information such as their numbers, location, movements, breeding, living conditions, and other trends
What’s in a Name?
56 southern white rhinos (Ceratotherium simum simum) also live on the Conservancy. The white rhino’s name is said to be a mistranslation between the Dutch and Afrikaans words meaning wide. As opposed to the hooked lip of the black rhino (used to pluck leaves and fruit from trees), the white rhino has a wide, squared-off lip for grazing along the ground like a lawnmower.