The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Ol Pejeta Loses Another Rhino to Poachers

A 22 year old female black rhino has been killed by suspected poachers in Ol Pejeta Conservancy. The female rhino named Upendo had both her horns were taken away by the poachers.

She had lived on Ol Pejeta since 2007 after she was trans located from the nearby Solio Ranch with her calf. " After the incident, the calf was found clinging to its mother's body, unharmed, but distressed and calling for its mother," said Elodie A. Sampéré PR and Marketing Manager Ol Pejeta Conservancy "He was flown to the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy on March 14th and is being cared for together with another small black rhino named Nicky by four caregivers.

He is being fed milk and drinks about eight liters a day. He has settled in slowly and is getting used to his caregivers". This brings to six, the number of rhinos killed in Laikipia and Nanyuki area in to six after five rhinos were killed at Nanyuki in two weeks ago. A female rhino was shot with a poison arrow in Solio Ranch on Thursday last week.

The whereabouts of her calf remain unknown but it is feared dead. The rhino's carcass was found with the horns intact.

Another rhino was shot dead in the Lewa Conservancy on the same night together with her four-month-old calf. In the latest incident, a black rhino was killed in Lewa on Tuesday morning. Gunshots were heard at about 5am.

"Cases of rhino poaching are on the rise and though this is the first incident in over a year, we are nonetheless working on increasing our security measures by working with government agencies and international partners to deploy aerial drones to help protect our wildlife," Richard Vigne, Ol Pejeta's CEO confirms the Conservancy's commitment to protecting its flagship species.

No arrests have been made so far. Conservationists warn that Africa's rhinos are facing the worst poaching crisis in decades, with the most serious poaching upsurges in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya. Black rhino populations are currently at 4,800 and are listed as "critically endangered" on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

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