Recent wildlife translocations
In late August 2013, 11 black rhinos were moved from Lewa to the neighbouring Borana Conservancy to decongest the resident population that had exceeded carrying capacity as well as establish a pioneer population on Borana. 10 others were taken to the new rhino sanctuary from Nakuru National Park.
Moving a two-tonne animal as elusive and easily agitated as a black rhino is never easy. Months of rigorous, meticulous planning and great synergy between the Kenya Wildlife Service, Borana and Lewa ensured that the translocations took place simultaneously with minimal hitches, and in seven days all the 21 pachyderms had been safely moved.
Four elephant bulls - Javet, Right Notch, Bullet and Flynn – were recently moved from Lewa to Meru National Park in an effort to reduce human-elephant conflict. The bulls had developed a penchant for destroying fences and raiding crops as well as breaking past exclusion zones.
The four have been monitored since the move and are thriving in their new habitat.
Ever heard of the brother-sister relationship that develops amongst white rhinos? This phenomenon takes place when a male and female white rhino living together in isolation co-exist with no sexual involvement, similar to a 'brother and sister'. The extremely rare and critically endangered northern white rhinos at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy had developed this relationship, the least ideal situation given their few numbers; there are only seven left in the world.
To break this brother-sister bond, two male southern white rhinos from Lewa were recently moved to the northern white boma. It is hoped that this new 'competition' will stimulate a new relationship amongst this largest rhino species and encourage mating.
Treatment of sick/wounded or injured wildlife
Wildlife is often treated for injuries resulting from gun shot wounds, snares, territorial fights, fractures and prey species interaction. Others are treated for various diseases.
Intervention to treat sick or injured wildlife is restricted to endangered or key species such as the rhino, Grevy's zebra, elephant, lion, cheetah and leopard. In the case of the endangered wildlife, every animal life counts in the re-emergence of the species.
Collaring of wildlife and ear-notching of rhino for research and monitoring
To help in rhino identification on Lewa, the vet notches the ears of individual animals with unique patterns. This ensures proper identification of the rhino in the field and therefore facilitates monitoring, data collection and record keeping.
Other wildlife such as elephant, lion, cheetah and Grevy's zebra are fitted with GPS-GSM enabled collars that are tracked on a Google Earth Interface. The collars enable us to establish the animals' movement patterns and general activity.