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Fauna & Flora International appeal to save black rhino from extinction





Fauna & Flora International is fundraising to support conservation efforts to save the critically endangered eastern black rhino.

The black rhino has a life expectancy of 35-40 years. Fauna Flora International
The black rhino has a life expectancy of 35-40 years. Fauna Flora International

The latest danger to this species follows the extinction of the northern white rhino. The last male northern white rhino, Sudan, died in 2018, and the two surviving females – Najin and Fatu – are too old to reproduce. The causes of this tragedy also pertain to the eastern black rhino (Diceros bicornis michaeli), the most endangered of the surviving black rhino subspecies.

Poaching and land clearing for agriculture and human settlement have contributed to the decimation of black rhinoceros populations across Africa. The black rhinoceros originated in the Eocene about fifty million years ago: there are now just 5,500 left alive today.

Kenya is home to 80 per cent of eastern black rhinos. To protect them, Fauna & Flora International (FFI) supports Ol Pejeta Conservancy, a sanctuary in Kenya’s Laikipia County that holds the largest population of black rhinos in East Africa.

The conservancy was established in 2003 when FFI, with the help of the Arcus Foundation, purchased a 364sq km cattle ranch that forms part of a key wildlife corridor at the foot of Mount Kenya. The ranch was converted into a wildlife conservancy – Ol Pejeta – and ownership was transferred from FFI to a Kenyan non-profit entity in 2005 under a long-term management agreement.

Sudan, the last male northern white rhino. There are now only two females left alive on Earth
Sudan, the last male northern white rhino. There are now only two females left alive on Earth

FFI, which is based in the David Attenborough Building on Pembroke Street, has continued to work with Ol Pejeta ever since its establishment, including assisting with the translocation of black rhinos into the conservancy, and providing ongoing support to protect the animals from poaching, ensuring high standards of monitoring, and developing incentives for local support for rhino conservation through Ol Pejeta’s community development programme.

Through the Northern Rangelands Trust, which FFI helped establish, the wildlife protection charity is also supporting the Sera Wildlife Conservancy and the Borana Conservancy, and their respective rhino conservation programmes. Key to the success of these conservancies is the support from local communities, garnered through engagement, awareness and employment programmes in each area.

While the efforts of conservationists and local people have successfully brought the eastern black rhino back from the brink – the population of eastern black rhinos in Kenya was recorded as just over 900 at the end of 2021 – there is still a long way to go to secure the future of this animal.

The black rhino has been living on Earth for 50 million years: the species count is now down to around 5,000. Picture: Fauna Flora International
The black rhino has been living on Earth for 50 million years: the species count is now down to around 5,000. Picture: Fauna Flora International

Eastern black rhinos are still under threat from poaching, due to continued high demand for rhino horns in some areas of Asia.

Details of the appeal can be found here.

A spokesperson for FFI said: “FFI’s work to continue the recovery of the eastern black rhino primarily involves working with our partners like Ol Pejeta Conservancy to provide adequate levels of protection, as well as training and resources for rhino monitoring. A large part of our work is maximising the breeding potential of the rhinos: fundamental to success is that we have enough resources to continue managing existing rhino populations well, and that we are able to ensure they have enough well-protected habitat` to continue growing.”



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