On Thursday, 22nd September 2022, we celebrated World Rhino Day through a 6 km-walk within the conservancy. This event, which was graced by the communities surrounding Lewa, partner organizations, and the lodges within the conservancy, symbolised our unity regarding the protection and preservation of the rhino population. With a turnout of about 200 people, this activity was significant as it demonstrated the community’s sincerity in their determination to continue protecting wildlife.
Community members, both young and old, braved the scorching sun for close to two hours, walking side by side with us for a common cause. This is a great shift from the period when rhino poaching was rampant within Lewa. Most successful poaching attempts, at the time, were as a result of community members providing inside information on the whereabouts of the rhinos within Lewa to the poachers. Great strides have truly been made in shifting the attitudes of the communities around Lewa regarding wildlife. For the sustainability of our conservation programmes, community buy-in is paramount.
Climate change continues to pose one of the greatest threats to our advances in rhino preservation. The Kenya Meteorological Department has warned of yet another depressed rainy season during the months of October and December. Lewa receives an average of 510 millimetres of rain annually. This year alone, we have received 66 millimetres as compared to the 235 millimetres of rain we typically would have experienced by this time of year.
With failed rains in the previous year, the prospect of another failed rainy season will only serve to exacerbate the situation. Low rainfall means fewer plants and, therefore, less food to eat for the rhinos. In their weakened state, breeding or raising their calves is a challenge. We will therefore need to continue supplementing their diet until the next rains predicted to occur in late October.
We value your continued support. The strides we make in rhino preservation are equally your victories.