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Ol Pejeta has new rhino star

Posted on: 05.01.09 (Last edited) 31 October 2010

Tame blind black rhino selected to help educate visitors about species’ conservation.

Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy has chosen a black rhino named Baraka to become an ambassador for the critically endangered species. Baraka, who was born on Ol Pejeta and is blind, was moved to a 100 acre enclosure and in several weeks time, once Baraka has settled into his new surroundings, visitors will be allowed to feed him from a platform at designated times of the day. It is hoped this kind of contact will inspire tourists and locals alike to take action to conserve these highly threatened animals.

Ol Pejeta has also begun construction of several rhino holding pens which will facilitate re-introductions and provide care to rhinos that are in need (a sort of rhino hospital!). Visitors will eventually have access to the holding pens via a series of walkways.

While Baraka is becoming tame, Max – an orphaned white rhino who was hand reared at Ol Pejeta – is becoming wild. A week after Baraka’s move, Max encountered his first wild white rhino compatriots. Max lacks basic rhino social skills but it’s looking like he’ll be making great progress – the wild white rhinos whom Max first came across engaged him in an affectionate “rubbing of noses”.

Baraka’s and Max’s moves were captured on film and will form part of a series entitled “The Ol Pejeta Diaries” which will be released in July 2009.

The Ol Pejeta Conservancy works to conserve wildlife, provide a sanctuary for great apes and to generate income through wildlife tourism and complementary enterprise for reinvestment in conservation and community development.

The Conservancy is also the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa and is an important national resource for the restocking of other areas. Fauna & Flora International purchased the property in 2004 through FFI’s Arcadia Land Trust and transferred ownership to a local organisation. FFI continues to support the conservancy to this day.

The Conservancy is also the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa and is an important national resource for the breeding of surplus rhinos with which to restock of other areas of secure habitat. Fauna & Flora International purchased the property in 2004 through FFI’s Arcadia Land Trust and transferred ownership to a local organisation. FFI continues to support the conservancy to this day. UK and US donors, including SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, have reponded rapidly to the sharp increase in poaching pressure on in 2008, and have provided emergency funding to support increased patrol coverage over the Conservancy in early 2009

For further information about the Ol Pejeta Conservancy please visit their website www.olpejetaconservancy.org or contact them at info@olpejetaconservancy.org.

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Rebecca Foges

Rebecca has been working at FFI since September 2007. Though she studied conservation in her BA and MSc, she decided that the life in the jungle just wasn't for her. Having grown up in New York City, she has experienced more pigeons and squirrels than parrots and spider monkeys. So she decided to write about the impact that FFI's projects have on the ground. Her current role as Communications Officer (Business & Biodiversity) has allowed her to focus her energy towards FFI's innovative Business & Biodiversity Programme. Rebecca helps to get the message out about FFI's strategic corporate partnerships and what they have helped to achieve for global biodiversity.

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Ol Pejeta Conservancy is also the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa and is an important national resource for the restocking of other areas.

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