Wildlife Stakeholders Use Technology to Conserve Rhinos Through Unique Identification

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), in collaboration with the Wildlife Research and Training Institute (WRTI) and Lewa Borana Wildlife Conservancy, is currently undertaking a rhino ear notching and fitting of transmitters exercise at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Meru County. The exercise is being spearheaded by KWS Veterinary and Capture team led by Dr. Isaac Lekolool.

During this exercise, 40 rhinos both black and white are set to be ear notched in the conservancy. 10 black rhinos will be fitted with LORA transmitters. Ear notching is carried out after every two to three years in all rhino sanctuaries to ensure that at least 60% of all rhinos are uniquely identifiable.

Rhino ear notching and transmitters fitting is an important aspect in rhino conservation, as it enables rhino monitors to easily track and identify this endangered species in the field and in the office via Earth Ranger software for enhanced security surveillance and conservation.

During the exercise, various samples are collected for laboratory analysis, rhino DNA profiling and research on various aspects of rhino conservation.

Currently, Kenya holds the third largest rhino population in the world at 1,890 individuals (966 black rhinos, 922 Southern white rhinos and 2 Northern white rhinos), with Lewa being home to over 200 rhinos, accounting for approximately 13% of the National population as at December 2022.

Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is an important rhino area as it has a vibrant habitat for both black and white rhinos.

Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza joined the team for the ear notching exercise yesterday morning. The Governor commended the collaboration that Lewa Borana Conservancy has with various stakeholders in wildlife conservation and for providing a home for wildlife for posterity. He urged for the continuance of the collaboration.

Ruth Wanjiru

KU TV news reporter