With incredible sadness we announce the translocation of the rhinos from the Mugie Rhino Sanctuary.
Reality hits hard and rhino poaching in Kenya and the rest of Africa has reached such worrying levels that the species has been pushed to the the edge of extinction. After a series of meetings between the Kenyan Wildlife Service and Mugie the decision was made to remove all rhinos from the Mugie Sanctuary for their own safety. The poachers were becoming more and more brazen as the price of rhino horn shot up - reports now reaching us have indicated that the the price has risen to an astonishing US$ 50,000 per kilogram. KWS had recently increased their armed Special Operations team from 9 to 38 men on Mugie but this was still not proving enough of a deterrent to the poachers.
Mugie had become synonymous with the conservation of the critically endangered black rhino and the continual daily battle to fight to save them. They had a huge dedicated security team that worked tirelessly over the years, but having already lost three rhinos in 2011 to poachers, saving these animals was more important than the revenues from tourism and the decision was made to translocate them to Ol Jogi Conservancy near Nanyuki in central Kenya and to Ruma (the new KWS conservancy on the shores of Lake Victoria) in western Kenya. The last rhino to leave Mugie was called Baraka - a bull rhino born in 1976 and translocated to Mugie from Nakuru National Park in 2005. It was a sad moment when his crate was put on the back of the truck and the last of Kenya's most northerly population of black rhinos was driven away.
Ironically everything else here is in the rhinos favor - the habitat conditions at Mugie for the browsing black rhinos are ideal - and at Mugie the breeding success rate was the best out of any Conservancy in Kenya. But unfortunately the death rate was also one of the highest - one of the reasons was due to predation of rhino calfs by hyena - but the biggest reason behind the high death rates was by poaching.
To get an understanding of the numbers involved - in South Africa alone, which is home to 80% of the worlds remaining rhinos, there were a staggering 440 rhinos killed last year by poachers when just five years ago 13 rhinos were killed in the same period.
Mugie will always continue their efforts with conservation - which is also home to the endangered Grevys zebra and Jacksons hartebeest amongst other threatened species. Their lion numbers are extremely healthy when numbers are dropping in many other areas due to illegal killings and habitat loss.
We just hope that the rhinos who were moved from Mugie will flourish in their new environment safer from the appalling and real peril of poaching and that internationally something is being done to stop this disgrace so that the rhinos can come back to Mugie. Till then you still have the most amazing wildlife viewing with all of the remaining Big Five - lion, leopard, elephant and buffalo - as well as lots of plain game.
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