Black rhino, Akinyi, gives birth to 4th calf at Meru National Park


Black rhino, Akinyi, gives birth to 4th calf at Meru National Park
FILE PHOTO | Black Rhinos and a calf at the Meru National Park. COURTESY | SHELDRICK WILDLIFE TRUST

A black rhino known as Akinyi has given birth at the Meru National Park in Kenya.

Tourism and Wildlife CS Najib Balala said this is the black rhino’s fourth calf.

“Her first 3 are males & her latest new born has not been sexed yet,” he said on Twitter.

CS Balala also noted that the age of the newborn calf is estimated to be 5 days old.

According to Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, there were four new births at the Meru Rhino Sanctuary last month.

Lewa Wildlife Conservancy says Kenya was home to an estimated 20,000 black rhinos in the 1960s but poaching reduced the population to less than 300 within two decades.

In July 2018, a disastrous translocation of 11 black rhinos that led to their subsequent deaths sparked a storm at the Tourism Ministry and the Kenya Wildlife Service.

Two years earlier, Kenya Wildlife Service in its Action Plan (2017-2021) had said the country ranked third in terms of black rhino population after Namibia ( 1,957) and South Africa ( 1,893).

The action plan was “to achieve a meta-population of 830 black rhinos by the end of 2021; a net growth of at least 5% per annum maintained in at least six established populations; positive net growth achieved in all recovering populations.”

At the end of 2017, KWS said there were 745 Black Rhinos in the country and the numbers were steadily on the rise with new births in different sanctuaries.

“However, even with marked progress, the black rhino remains critically endangered,” a report on the Lewa Conservancy website reads.

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