SWARA

Rhino Numbers

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Compared to the 14% population growth of White rhino in Uganda’s Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, in Kenya, the Black rhino population has doubled since 1983, from 350 to 750 in 2018.

At Lewa Wildlife Conservanc­y, in the past four years, Black rhinos increased by 25%.

The Lewa-Borana landscape is a ‘Key 1’ Black rhino population, the third in East Africa. ‘Key 1’ rating is given by IUCN’s African Rhino Specialist Group to identify significan­t population­s that are stable and increasing.

Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservanc­y has a population of over 110 Black rhino, making it the largest Black rhino sanctuary in East Africa. Ol Pejeta has steadily built up its Black rhino population from 20 individual­s in 1993.

At Lake Nakuru National Park, the rhino population has stabilised after aggressive poaching from 2012-2014. Nakuru has over 100 rhino, including both Black and White.

According to a July report issued by the Tanzanian government, the number of rhinos in that country increased from just 15 to 167 over the past four years.

“Endangered rhino numbers ‘Soar by 1000%’ in Tanzania” was the original headline for in U.K., revised online when mathematic­al skills were imposed (by readers.) Al Jeezera and Fox News repeated the claims issued by Reuters.

Given the unlikely odds of only two breeding males, with 13 females remaining, that would mean each of the 13 gave birth to 12.8 rhino over the past 4 years. Gestation for White rhino is minimum 16 months and Black rhino, minimum 15 months. Or were rhino translocat­ed from other countries? If so, should that should be included in population growth?

Here’s what may have happened. Checking IUCN data, there were 133 Black rhino in Tanzania in 2015. Just on the next line is Uganda, with 15 White rhino. That’s Ziwa.

Current pachyderm numbers in South Africa were used to argue for an increase of hunting Black rhino, from 5 to 9 annually. (See related report on CITES on pg 39.)

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