At the Tsavo Trust, our specific mandate for wildlife conservation is in protecting East Africa’s elephant from the loss of its Super Tuskers. There are thought to be around 25 Super Tusker elephant – bulls with ivory that weighs over 45 kg – left in the world, and the Tsavo Conservation Area is home to around 10 of those creatures.
We protect these incredible creatures with every effort. In so doing, we of course protect much more.
In our aerial reconnaissance, we note all that is worthy of our attention. We provide early surveillance of bush fires, poaching operations or illegal cattle grazing. We note any animals in need of medial treatment or caught in snares.
In our community work, we make the local human settlements surrounding the Tsavo Conservation Area better protected and more aware of the dangers posed by wildlife. Humans that feel safe are less dangerous to animals.
In our advocacy for the protection of wild spaces, we of course protect the wide-ranging migratory routes of elephant. But we also protect all the smaller, less travel-hungry creatures that live along those routes.
So, we may stand specifically for the safeguarding of the Super Tusker, but we have also come to protect so much more. Here in Tsavo, one of the other creatures that benefits from our conservation work is another of Kenya’s great megafauna species: the black rhino.
How many rhinos are there in Kenya?
Kenya has the third largest rhinoceros population in the world, after South Africa and Namibia.
According to latest estimates from a variety of sources, there are an estimated 1,780 rhinos in Kenya.
Of those 1,780 rhinos in Kenya, WWF estimates put 938 eastern black rhinos as living in Kenya and Save the Rhinos suggests at an estimated 840 southern white rhinos living here. (These estimates are from December and July 2021 respectively and may have changed.) It is well documented that there are only 2 northern white rhinos in Kenya.
There were thought to be fewer than 400 rhinos in Kenya in 1987, all of those eastern black rhinos.
The eastern black rhino population has been closely monitored and catered for through a species-specific conservation plan: the Black Rhino Action Plan 2017-2021. The target of that Action Plan was to bring the rhino population to 830 black rhinos by 2021. That target was met.
The long-term target of that Black Rhino Action Plan was to get the native black rhino population to 2,000 individuals.
There are four black rhino subspecies: the Eastern black, the Central black, the South Western black and the Western Black. The Eastern black is Kenya’s native black rhino subspecies.
The southern white rhino population was introduced to Kenya in the 1960s. Prior to that, the subspecies was extinct in Kenya. For a full explanation of how the southern white rhino population was regrown in Kenya, read this article: ‘Why is it so hard to get rhinos pregnant?’.
For now, suffice it to say that the southern white rhino population regrowth is an example of wildlife conservation success.
Tsavo’s role in rhino conservation
In Tsavo, and alongside our other wards, we will continue to protect the native black rhino species we have here. Specifically, we serve this end through the work we do at the Ngulia rhino sanctuary. We monitor and protect the animals that live here and, if you’re similarly inclined, you can too.