Our Anti-Poaching Unit is the core of our security
Last year, we asked you to help us at a time when you were very uncertain of your own future, and you did not hesitate. Thanks to you and the response to this campaign, we managed to keep our core operations running and celebrated our third year of zero rhino poaching.
Just like everyone else in the world, we started 2021 with great hope that the worse of the COVID-19 pandemic was behind us, that we would be allowed to return to normal and that our tourism would pick up again. Unfortunately, that has not been the case.
Kenya was, just before the Easter celebrations, placed under another lockdown. This means that any tourism revenue that we had hoped to generate during this usually busy period was suddenly gone. Additionally, we have been put on the Travel Red List of some of our biggest tourist source countries threatening our core operations income. However, because of your generosity, we have been able to continue successfully safeguarding Ol Pejeta's rhinos through the first quarter of 2021.
How did we use your gifts?
Growing our rhino population
Regardless of everything going on around us, we have managed to keep our rhino numbers growing. Since January, we have had four black rhino births and two southern white rhino births bringing our rhino population numbers to 146 and 39 respectively. Ol Pejeta is going on four years without poaching and all this is because of your gifts that have helped us continue employing and providing equipment for our 140 rhino patrol rangers. The rhino patrol team is responsible for identifying individual rhinos daily on the 90,000-acre conservancy. They are tasked with ensuring that each of our rhinos is accounted for, and for reporting any suspicious activity or rhino injury in real-time back to management for action.
Keeping Our Anti-Poaching Unit Going Strong
Our Anti-Poaching team consists of seven canines and 47 armed rangers who are National Police Reservists. This team is responsible for guarding all the wildlife in the conservancy by patrolling the fenceline daily and responding to any signs of intrusion. They have to stay updated with the latest technology and go through regular physical training to ensure that they are always ahead of anyone who may have ill intentions towards our wildlife.
Between the rhino patrol team and the anti-poaching unit, we spent $53,850 in ranger salaries and allowances, $20,000 in their food rations, and $3,600 in vehicle maintenance and fuel in the first quarter of 2021.
Supporting Ol Pejeta's Communities
We have always said this, but we like to repeat it. Our communities are our first line of defense against poaching. It has taken us many years of fostering good relationships and conservation education to ensure that we work together to protect Ol Pejeta's wildlife. One of the ways we maintain this relationship is by responding to security concerns in the community through our Anti-Poaching unit, and by responding to human/wildlife conflicts through our Problematic Animal Control (PAC) team. Each of these teams regularly receives alerts from our community leaders and works with the local authorities to mitigate or solve various issues. Since January, our teams have responded to 11 alerts in the communities ranging from petty theft to livestock raiding and bush meat trading, and have contributed to four arrests.
We still need your help
We have a long road ahead to keep safeguarding the largest black rhino sanctuary in East and Central Africa, and we hope that you will continue to walk this journey with us. With only three months into the year and still so many obstacles brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are calling on you to keep on being the wildlife advocates that you are to help us achieve all the milestones we need to reach to ensure the successful recovery of these amazing creatures.
Thank you for all your generosity and support. We hope you stay safe and healthy and that we are able to welcome you back to Ol Pejeta soon!
We have 145 black rhinos on Ol Pejeta today
You helping keeping our rhino patrol employed