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Four decades ago, the first rhino arrived at Lewa, thanks to the tireless efforts of the foremost champion for rhinos, Anna Merz. When she passed away on April 4th, 2013, at the age of 81, Lewa was home to about 70 rhinos. Nearly a decade later, that number has soared to 245, scattered across the Lewa Borana landscape—a testament to the dedicated teams who carried on the noble work Anna initiated.

But why rhinos? For Anna, the answer was straightforward. “The rhinos are in Kenya, and I am in Kenya,” she would say. “And the rhinos are in terrible trouble.” With only a few hundred of these majestic creatures left and many lacking viable breeding grounds, the situation was dire.

Many of the remaining rhinos wandered as solitary beings, marooned in remote mountains with slim prospects of finding a mate, and constantly menaced by poachers.

Urgent action was essential.

Thus, a few were carefully captured and relocated to the Ngare Sergoi Rhino Sanctuary (now Lewa), where they were shielded from poaching.

Lewa Conservancy

LBL is home to 245 rhinos. (Photo by Herman Jush)

Decades have passed since Anna’s pioneering efforts, but her legacy continues to reverberate through the Lewa-Borana Landscape (LBL). Every rhino that now roams freely is a living testament to her enduring commitment to conservation. Anna’s spirit lives on in the gentle rustle of the grasslands and the sturdy footsteps of these magnificent creatures—an enduring reminder of the ripple effects sparked by a single act of kindness.

On this significant day, let us collectively renew our commitment to safeguarding the rhinoceros, aligning ourselves with the enduring vision championed by Anna Merz. As we reflect on her legacy and the tireless efforts she poured into rhino conservation, let us stand together as stewards of these magnificent creatures, ensuring their protection for generations to come.

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