OL PEJETA’S NORTHERN WHITE RHINOS ‘IN THE MOOD’
Information was received over the weekend from the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in the central Kenyan highlands, that the Northern White Rhinos, now just over 15 months on site since their relocation in December 2009 from a zoo in the Czech Republic, have started to begin ‘mating’ activities. This long hoped for behavioural change seems the final confirmation, that the four have ‘shed’ their non procreational ‘coexistence’ habits they had developed while in captivity and have under the watchful eyes of veterinarians and wardens returned to a ‘normal life’.
Ol Pejeta is home to the highest concentration of the Eastern Black species in Kenya, and the region for that matter and together with both Southern White and the four Northern White over 100 rhinos now live on the 90.000 acres sprawling conservancy cum cattle ranch. Ol Pejeta is one of the few successful examples how wildlife conservation and cattle ranching, re-introduced a few years ago, can go along hand in hand and help the owners to make the returns needed to keep conservation alive and well.
Should the sub species successfully breed it would be beyond initial hope that the Northern White can actually survive. Four more are still in the Czech Republic, but considered too old to successfully breed and the last of the species in the wild was poached in Garamba National Park, Congo DR, when a few years ago an arrogant and ignorant ‘minister’ in the Kinshasa regime at the very last moment halted a relocation of the dozen or so Northern White from the park to Ol Pejeta, claiming he had the capacity to protect them. Reality though proved the man utterly wrong, when rebels killed them all for their horns, and every effort over the past 2 years to spot any survivors of this ‘rhinocide’ from the air and on the ground failed to produce evidence that there is even a single one left. Allegations have never died down since then that the minister actually ‘wanted something’ and when not getting it stopped the ‘rhino evacuation’, in the process literally killing off the subspecies in the wild.
However, Ol Pejeta now truly is mankind’s last chance to see the Northern White sub species being rescued from total extinction and visitors to the conservancy are having the one in a lifetime opportunity to possibly spot them while out on gamedrives. The conservancy offers accommodation in self catering units for visitors but several tented camps are also found on the estate, including Serena’s Sweetwater Safari Camp and Gamewatchers’ Porini Rhino Camp. Visit the Ol Pejeta website for more information or subscribe to their regular newsletter via www.olpejetaconservancy.org to stay updated on rhino conservation and tourism activities. When visiting Kenya, ask your safari operator to include Ol Pejeta, as this is an experience not to be missed.