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