Kenya Rhino Project

There are only seven rhinoceros left in the Chyulu Hills in southern Kenya, but with your help, this population can grow.

Currently, the rhinos are carefully protected by Big Life Foundation and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). They are under the constant surveillance of 54 dedicated Big Life rhino unit rangers, 48 camera traps and regular aerial patrols. As a result of this protection, for over eight years, there have been zero successful rhino poaching incidents in the Chyulus, although there have been natural losses.

However, the habitat is capable of supporting a much larger population. Just 60 years ago, when famous big game hunter turned conservationist J. A. Hunter lived here, the surrounding area was home to thousands of rhinos.

Alex Hunter, one of Royal African Safaris’ Partners, is J. A. Hunter’s grandson. Alex is passionate about this project and is a dedicated member of our Royal African Foundation team. We are working with Big Life to ensure this isn’t the end of the story for rhinos in the Chyulus.

The Chyulus population is of critical value to rhino conservation as it is a genetically independent population of eastern black rhinos that has not been mixed with any other populations. So, by translocating other rhinos into this area, we can not only bring the Chyulu rhino back from the brink of extinction, but we can strengthen the entire black rhino gene pool. 

The first phase of the project is ongoing as the habitat has been granted Intensive Protection Zone (IPZ) status for demonstrating that the rhino can be effectively protected, and Big Life is working hard to maintain their protection.

The second phase of the project had begun. It involved putting in the infrastructure, such as translocation holding pens, improved and new water points, and roads required by KWS so phase three of translocating 15-20 rhinos into the Chyulu Hills National Park could begin. You had kindly supported three waterholes to be repaired and upgraded with new pipelines, solar pump capacity, and 35,000 litres of water storage protected by solar electric fencing.

Then, the project was stalled because of a court case by a ranching company against the Kenya Wildlife Services to try to revoke the two extensions KWS made to the northern part of the Chyulu National Park in 1983 and 1995. This is a big problem because these extensions are part of the rhino’s current territory, and human settlement inside the park threatens both human lives as well as the lives of the rhinos, elephants and other megafauna that live there. So, with your support, we started working with the East African Wildlife Society on advocacy for the national park, and we continue to do so. We will not give up.

This is a long-term and ambitious, big-budget project, but it will have a big impact on the Chyulu rhinos and the future of their species.


You can donate to this project through our Royal African Foundation. 100% of your donation will go to the project you choose, and your donation to our registered 501(c)(3) organisation is tax-deductible as provided for by law. If you are in Canada and have US source income, you can also make a tax-deductible donation to our 501(c)(3) charity or you can donate to this project through Big Life Canada. Just let us know and we will make sure 100% of your donation will go to the project. Please contact us if you have any questions.

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