The Challenge

Tens of thousands of rhinos once thrived in Africa’s landscape. Since the beginning of the 20th century, humans have pushed the species to the brink of extinction. In the 1960s, Kenya was home to an estimated 20,000 black rhinos, but just two decades later, poaching had reduced the population to less than 300.

As a result of conservation efforts, the black rhino population is steadily recovering and there are now over 600 black rhinos in Kenya. However, even with marked progress, the black rhino remains critically endangered.

Threats to Africa’s rhinos: (1) Poaching due to the demand of rhino horn in the black market, and (2) Loss of the rhino’s historical habitat. The rapid and alarming decline of rhinos and other animals present a threat to our planet’s biodiversity and capacity to sustain life. The survival of one of Africa’s iconic species rests on long-term solutions to securing its habitat and reducing demand for its horn.  We should then add what happens to the planet’s biodiversity and the capacity to sustain life– or leave it out. Insert graphic–we need evidence to support these types of broad statements.

Our Response

The work to protect the rhino was the catalyst that led to Lewa’s founding.  Since 1983, Lewa has provided a safe and suitable home for rhinos. As the first and the leading pioneer in private rhino sanctuary in East Africa, Lewa’s rhino population has grown from an initial 15 rhinos to 169 rhinos today.

As one of the successful sanctuaries for rhinos, Lewa is working with a growing number of partnersacross Kenya and Africa. Together, we share a common mandate to help the rhino rise out of near-extinction and push the boundaries of what is possible in conservation.

The collaboration between Lewa and neighbouring Borana Conservancy to merge two separate land areas has created 93,000 acres of contiguous rhino rangeland. This expanded landscape is home to a growing rhino population,14% of Kenya’s entire rhino population.

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