THE NORTHERN RANGELANDS TRUST RHINO CONSERVATION PROGRAMME

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1 THE NORTHERN RANGELANDS TRUST RHINO CONSERVATION PROGRAMME PHASE 1 REPORT NOVEMBER 2015

2 table of contents Chapter 1. Introduction 1 Chapter 2. Background 2 Chapter 3. Goals and Objectives 6 Chapter 4. The Establishment of Sera Rhino Sanctuary 6 Chapter 5. The Translocation Process 13 Chapter 6. Phase II 16 Chapter 7. Rhino Monitoring and Security 17 Chapter 8. Sustainability Plans 18 Chapter 9. Partners 20 Chapter 10. Budget and Expenditure 22 Chapter 11. Appendices 24 Photo credits: Ami Vitale: cover, page 8 Juan Pablo Moreiras (FFI): contents page, pages 3, 4 Martin Buzora: page 19 NRT: pages 1, 7, 9, 10, 11 (bottom), 12, 20, 25 Jo O Brien: pages 2, 15 David O Connor: page 11 (top)

3 our partners Acknowledgements The Northern Rangelands Trust would like to thank the above principal donors and partners for their invaluable support towards the rhino conservation programme. The programme is not only helping to protect a critically endangered species, but ensuring that the prosperity of local communities is inextricably linked to its conservation.

4 NRT Rhino Conservation Programme Phase 1 Report October 2015 chapter 1 - INTRODUCTION This report details the progress of the Sera Rhino Sanctuary project, which aimed to reintroduce black rhino into an area in which the species has been absent for over 35 years. Since 2007, the project has grown from the seeds of an ambitious idea, into a fully operational community-owned black rhino sanctuary - the first in East Africa. It is now home to ten black rhino, with more due to be moved at the end of 2015, and has more than 24 full time rangers employed. The project has merged a successful community conservation model with Kenya s National Rhino Strategy, in a move that aims to benefit local communities as much as an iconic and critically endangered species. Significant investment in infrastructure and equipment ensures effective ranger operations and wildlife monitoring. It also lays the foundations for future ecotourism operations in the area, which will be one of the main benefits to the surrounding communities. The 107 square kilometre Sanctuary is surrounded by an electric fence, has two housing complexes for rangers, a headquarters, eight man-made water points for wildlife, a Sanctuary Land Cruiser, and a VHF radio communication system. The project has gained strong community support thanks to continuous engagement from NRT and partners with the Sera Conservancy management team, local elders and community representatives. This will continue to be a vital part of its success. The materialisation of the Sera Rhino Sanctuary, from a vision that started over seven years ago, could not have been possible without generous support from the Lundin Foundation, the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service through Fauna and Flora International, two private philanthropists and USAID. The translocation process was supported by Tusk Trust, San Diego Zoo, St. Louis Zoo and Zurich Zoo among others. While support from the international conservation community has been crucial, support and endorsement from the Kenya Wildlife Service and leadership by the Sera community has ensured that this project has stayed a Kenyan lead, Kenyan owned initiative. It is still early days, but the successes so far point to this trailblazing example of community-based black rhino conservation as being something replicable across Africa. Black rhino Nadungu in his new home at Sera Rhino Sanctuary 1

5 chapter 2 - background The world population of black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis michaeli) stood at ca. 65,000 in Kenya held approximately 28% of this total. Between 1970 and 2003, these populations plummeted to just 3,600. This decline affected all subspecies, including the eastern black rhino. In 1990, Kenya was home to around 400 eastern black rhinos - accounting for 12% of the remaining population. By 1997, this figure stood at 87%. Poaching in Kenya during the 1970 s and early 1980 s occurred inside and outside of national parks, with very little law enforcement efforts to regulate or stop it. But as the severity of the situation increased towards the mid-1980 s, so too did determined conservation efforts. In 1984, a project devoted to the recovery of the black rhino population was developed, and from 1988 this became known as the Kenya Rhino Project. By this time, most of Kenya s black rhino population was confined to heavily protected, fenced reserves; either on government or private land. From 1986, when Kenya s black rhino population was ca. 330, overall numbers increased by 13% to ca. 430 animals by This was partly due to the continued stocking of new sanctuaries with rhinos from areas that had reached ecological carrying capacity. A KWS officer marks a horn cut from a darted rhino - this would be worth around US$ 60,000 per kg on the black market. In 2003, KWS implemented the third of its 5-year Rhino Conservation and Management Strategies. This aimed to sustain a 5% annual population increase of black rhino seen between 1986 and This target was made increasingly challenging as demand for rhino horn continued to surge. The proportion of rhinos poached was more than 1.5% per annum in Africa between 2009 and 2011, but slightly more than 2% per annum in Kenya over the same period. Despite this, Kenya s black rhino population stood at 631 at the beginning of 2013, just 19 animals short of the 2010 target set out in the National Strategy. There was a further 40% reduction in rhino poaching in The major challenges now accompanying this recovering population in Kenya are issues surrounding ecological and social carrying capacity. Exceeding the ecological carrying capacity of a park or reserve is the primary constraint, leading to reduced calving rates. Social issues, including fighting, are usually secondary or consequent to ecological constraints. KWS set out to address this challenge, and propose ways in which this positive population trend could continue to increase, in their strategic objectives for the new National Rhino Strategy ( ): Diversify the management and custodianship of rhinos by; Setting up sustainable financial mechanisms for community rhino conservation projects Establishing a viable rhino population (minimum 20 rhinos) in at least one community sanctuary Translocate rhinos from productive populations to avoid overstocking and diversify the gene pool 2

6 The Strategy also emphasises the need to raise awareness and support for Kenyan rhino conservation. It defines a revised overall goal of hosting at least 750 black rhinos in Kenya by the end of 2016, achieving at least a 5% national growth rate and a figure of less than 1% for man-induced and disease-related deaths. KWS already had a close working relationship with NRT, and as the 2012/2016 Strategy was developed, the potential of a partnership with familiar and well established community conservancies helped to shape these objectives. Between 2008 and 2010, with the support of KWS and international rhino specialists, two NRT member conservancies were assessed for their potential as new rhino conservation areas. These conservancies were Sera and Namunyak, both in Samburu County, with good track records for governance, security and conservation efforts. Following a sequence of evaluations and planning workshops, Sera Wildlife Conservancy was recommended by KWS, and a comprehensive management plan was drawn up for a new fenced rhino sanctuary to be established within a larger intensive protection zone (IPZ). This IPZ would not only serve as protected black rhino habitat, but also as a safe haven for many other wildlife species including elephant, lesser kudu, striped hyena, leopard, and giraffe. Through tourism potential and wildlife protection initiatives, it promised to bring economic and security benefits to the surrounding communities too. Construction of the Sera Rhino Sanctuary began in 2012 and was completed in December The first black rhino were released in May Sera Community Conservancy and the Northern Rangelands Trust Sera is a 3,450 square kilometre community conservancy in Samburu County. It is a registered Community Based Organization (CBO), non-profit organization (registered 2002) and Trust (registered 2005). It is governed by a democratically elected board, whose aim is to conserve and protect wildlife, manage the affairs of the Conservancy and any issues relating to the socio-economic development of the community. It is one of 33 community conservancies in northern Kenya supported by the Northern Rangelands Trust. The Conservancy s conservation focus covers an area of 520 square kilometres, where conservancy rangers carry out wildlife monitoring and security operations, and where livestock grazing is carefully managed. There are no human settlements in this conservation area, which is divided into a core area of 107 square kilometres (the Rhino Sanctuary), and a 413 square kilometre buffer zone. The Sera grazing committee have agreed that no grazing should be permitted in the Rhino Sanctuary, and that the buffer zone should be restricted to dry season grazing only. Sera Conservancy is home to the famous Kisima Humsini water holes - where thousands of sandgrouse and other birds come to drink 3

7 The Conservancy lies in an area of historical insecurity, traditionally between the Rendille, Samburu and Borana people. Tensions between these pastoral communities typically revolve around access to grazing and water, as well as retaliation for historic injustices. However, since the inception of Sera, which acted as a catalyst for the development of Melako Community Conservancy to its north, and Biliqo-Bulesa Conservancy to its east, security for people and wildlife has greatly improved. This is due to a massive peace drive from the communities, assisted by NRT s peace team. This drive has encouraged dialogue as a means of conflict resoultion, and facilitated peace meetings between communities when situations were tense. The Sera grazing committee, established in 2007, includes representatives from all three communities in the area, and also assist in mediating conflicts, as well as develop grazing plans and aid the recovery of stolen livestock. The Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) was started in 2004, and aims to develop resilient community conservancies that transform lives, secure peace and conserve natural resources. It is now widely regarded as a leader in effective community led conservation and community development in eastern Africa. A Sera ranger watches over a herd of elephants while out on patrol 4

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9 chapter 3 - GOALS AND OBJECTIVES Goal: Reintroduce black rhino to the community-managed Sera Wildlife Conservancy. Protect and monitor the population with the support of KWS and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. Reach a population of 50 rhinos in the next 20 years. Objective: i. Complete rhino sanctuary fencing and infrastructure ii. Ensure full protection and surveillance of rhino sanctuary and Intensive Protection Zone (IPZ). iii. Translocate, release and monitor founder stock of rhinos chapter 4 - THE ESTABLISHMENT OF SERA RHINO SANCTUARY Establishing a rhino sanctuary in Kenya requires the applicant to follow procedures and guidelines as described by Kenya Wildlife Service. These guidelines include the following pre-assessments which were undertaken in Sera. Feasibility studies A preliminary assessment of community conservancies as potential re-introduction sites for black rhinos in northern Kenya (Juliet King, 2008) highlighted Sera Conservancy as the most appropriate conservancy with immediate potential for long-term rhino conservation. This was due to land area available, limited human and livestock activities, suitable habitat and water availability, established security and monitoring, and institutional support and capacity at a community level. There were a series of assessments done as follows; Ecological A comprehensive ecological assessment of Sera was conducted in 2010 (Wandera et al) with the objective of establishing the estimated ecological carrying capacity (ECC) for black rhinos. This estimation considers black rhino habitat suitability and availability, with relative measure to volumes of vascular (woody) plants. Sera Conservancy, with an area of 355km², was predicted to hold an average of 87 black rhinos despite the environmental conditions at the time of the assessment. Therefore the maximum productivity carrying capacity (MPCC) which is estimated at 75% of the average holding capacity, was 65 black rhinos (for the total area plus the intensive protection zone). This estimate (MPCC) provides the maximum stocking number of black rhino that the Sanctuary management should maintain for optimal reproductive performance. The current fenced sanctaury alone has an ECC of 26 rhinos. Other considerations were veterinary assessment (Mutinda, 2010) on diseases (historical and current) and vectors. A separate dedicated assessment for tsetse flies (Trypanosomiasis causing insect) was also undertaken and both assessments from the vets confirmed that there was no immediate danger of the rhinos to affected/ infected. The potential zoonotic disease identified for the area was anthrax but this can be controlled and managed by fencing the rhinos in and keeping the cattle out. Security An independent security assessment was undertaken by the Kenya Wildlife Service (2010) and the local security team. The initial assessment audited the existing security system and recommended improvements. These 6

10 included the recommended number of staff for both the armed and unarmed monitoring teams, as well as recommending: i. Recruitment and training of local community to community ranger cadre ii. Recruitment and training of local community to fencers and rhino monitoring staff iii. Capacity building - procurement and contraction of physical infrastructure (vehicles, electric fence, ranger outpost, water troughs, piping for distribution, digging of wells), installing radio communication systems, establishing informer networks All recommendations were incorporated into both the security plan and overall management plan for the Sera Rhino Sanctuary (Watson et al 2010). The Kenya Wildlife Service continue to provide recommendations on security matters as the Sanctuary develops. The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy security team also closely monitors Sera s performance and offers additional technical and security reinforcement when required. Sera rangers during a training exercise 7

11 Community awareness, acceptance and ownership The establishment of Sera Community Conservancy as an institution for development and conservation was paramount to gaining community support for the rhino sanctuary project. The very nature of the project aligns with the objectives of the Conservancy: to improve the livelihoods of the resident communities through wildlife conservation, with an emphasis on improving the physical security for wildlife, people and livestock in the area. It also stands to provide local people with opportunities to gain revenue from protecting wildlife. Young warriors from Sera meet the orphaned black rhinos on Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. This was, for most, their first interaction with a rhino The Rhino Sanctuary project now has strong community ownership and participation as a result of intensive community engagement from early on. This engagement included awareness creation sessions with community members, which focused on the importance of black rhino conservation for local prosperity and cultural heritage. The site for the fenced sanctuary was mutually agreed upon by the communities of Loseisa and Sereolipi group ranches, after four meetings on the matter. Letters of support from the Group Ranches and County Council (see appendices) formalised the agreement. A rhino sanctuary committee was established, comprising of representatives from Sera Wildlife Conservancy, NRT, community members, KWS and the Kenya Police. The committee met twice a month in the run up to the first translocation to review the progress of the infrastructure, and discuss any issues raised by key stakeholders. Engaging young warriors (morans) in the process was a priority for rhino sanctuary committee. This group - traditionally charged with taking care of family livestock - are statistically the most likely to be caught up in tribal feuds, cattle rustling and even poaching. As part of an initiative to gain support from this demographic, 88 morans were taken to Ol Pejeta and Lewa Conservancies to witness the benefits of effective livestock management, and to meet three young orphan black rhinos being hand reared on Lewa. None of the group had ever seen a rhino before, let alone had the opportunity to touch one, and the excitement was tangible. This was followed up with a three day tour of the Sera Rhino Sanctuary, where the young warriors had a chance to talk through any concerns and questions they had about the project with the Conservancy board. 8

12 Recognising that Sera is community owned land, and that both Serolipi and Lossesia communities largely rely on cattle as their only source of income, it is expected that the Rhino Sanctuary will face challenges relating to land use. Requests by the community to graze livestock within the Sanctuary, and the threat of the fence being forcefully cut by livestock herders from outside the direct area, are both real possibilities. The Rhino Sanctuary Committee and wider community are fully aware of these challenges. Accordingly, as of December 1st 2015, the committee are at an advanced stage of planing to draw up by-laws that will be endorsed through an Annual General Meeting (AGM) of both Serolipi and Lossesia Group Ranches. These by-laws will clearly outline a process on how, and under what circumstances, livestock could be allowed to graze within the Rhino Sanctuary. They will also state how the integrity of the fence will be ensured through both legal and customary processes. The by-laws will be uploaded onto the web page containing the other appendices relevant to this report (see Chapter 11). The expectation is that the Sanctuary will act as a final source of reserve grazing in times of extreme drought. Such a reserve of grass could act as an insurance for each family, where they could keep a nucleus of cattle alive when there is no alternative. The expectation is that this will be one to two animals per family, and that they will be herded in a carefully planned manner to respect wildlife and Sanctuary tourism. The implementation of this programme will be planned in conjunction with the rhino monitoring programme to ensure that there is minimal disturbance to the rhinos. It will draw on precedents from elsewhere in Kenya, where wildlife and livestock integration works well - specifically Ol Pejeta, Borana and Lewa Conservancies. Sanctuary infrastructure Infrastructure work began in early 2013 and was completed in December It consisted of: A 45km solar powered electric fence Access roads and airstrips Sanctuary gates and gate houses Ranger outposts and accommodation Equipment stores Water: Three wells were dug at Lontopi, Kapai and Lolosowan with piping connecting these to the outposts and watering holes. The Lontopi and Kapai wells were fitted with solar powered water pumps. Six earth dams were also dug for rain water harvesting. The solar panel that powers the water pump at Kapai 9

13 Planning Preparation for the construction of the rhino sanctuary at Sera began in 2010 with the following activities: NRT fundraising of ca. $700,000 from institutional and private donors (spent on capital, operational items and early Sanctuary construction Establishment of routine security and wildlife protection operations in the wider Sera Sanctuary/IPZ area; which included the redeployment of the armed KPR rangers that had been away on training at KWS Manyani during early This had a beneficial effect on reducing poaching of elephant in the Sera area (from 5 animals killed in 2011, to zero in 2012) Establishment of the Sera Rhino Committee in February The purpose of the committee was to be the first point of contact for all rhino related issues at Sera, to be a forum for discussion and a messenger service between the Sera community, the translocation team, and the Sanctuary staff. The committee consists of chairs of the Sera Conservancy board, finance committee, grazing committee and representatives from KWS and NRT. The completion of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the reintroduction of rhino into the Sanctuary. This was approved by the NEMA in early Procurement and tender Lewa Wildlife Conservancy (LWC) was chosen to provide the logistical support required for infrastructure development in the Sanctuary. Selection of LWC was based on their significant expertise in the provision of logistics and construction of similar infrastructure projects. Procurement of construction materials, equipment and supplies was carried out in accordance with NRT s procurement policies, which aim to ensure transparency, accountability and value for money. Fencing The 45 km fence line for the sanctuary was cleared and fence posts erected using plant, equipment and labour. The aim of the electrified, metre-high fence is primarily to contain the rhino population, and to demarcate the Sanctuary area effectively for the community and their livestock. The configuration chosen was a 12 strand fence with alternate live and earth wires maintaining a target power supply of 5300 volts. A team of 18 fence maintenance staff were recruited, trained and deployed in three separate locations within the Sanctuary. The fence maintenance team is tasked with daily inspection, clearance and basic maintenance of the fence. Rhino monitoring scouts also assist the maintenance team in carrying out fence inspections. The maintenance team are under the direct management of the Rhino Sanctuary Officer. Road tracks have been cleared along the fence line to allow vehicles to be used for fence inspection and incident follow up. The configuration of 12 alternative live /earth wires has proven to be a particularly lethal combination for giraffe, who are naive to fences, and losses have been higher than expected. The bottom 6 wires were excluded for the first three months, so that giraffe would not entangle their feet when kicking the barrier. Strips of 1.5 meter yellow plastic sheeting were also tied on to the fence in two metre intervals. These two measures helped reduce the loss of giraffe. After 6 months the population inside the fence no longer attempted to get through the fence and losses reduced to virtually nil. The losses incurred The Sera Rhino Sanctuary fence 10

14 since this time have all been from giraffe outside the fence, who are attempting to enter the Sanctuary. On completion, it was found that there were too many elephants within the Sanctuary - given the limited water supply and the need to prioritise the vegetation for black rhino. Accordingly, 30 elephants were removed by opening gaps in the fence and pushing the herds out of the Sanctuary using a Hughes 530. This proved relatively straight forward with no losses or particular challenges. With eco-tourism promising to provide substantial revenue to the Sera Rhino Sanctuary in the near future, a small number of elephants within the Sanctuary will be important - there are approximately 28 remaining. Access roads and airstrips Access roads, ranger tracks and four airstrips have been established in the Sanctuary. These not only serve the Sanctuary staff, but will also be key in the development of tourism activities in the future. Water points Water points were constructed at Lontopi, Kapai and Lchoro Losowan. These will collect rainwater and store any pumped water for the rhinos and other wildlife. Lontopi and Kapai wells were fitted with solar powered water pumps which clean water to the rangers, fence maintenance staff and other conservancy staff. The solar pumps replaced the petrol engine pump that was expensive, unreliable, environmentally damaging and required significant maintenance. It enables water to be carried to an elevated position 2.5 km away. A rhino drinks from one of the constructed water points in the Sanctuary Ranger accommodation units and gate complexes Four main gates and gate house complexes were constructed to regulate access to the Sanctuary. These complexes also house electric fencing energizers, and store maintenance equipment and supplies. The four ranger housing units comprise of an accommodation block, kitchen, toilets and showers. Improving living conditions of security staff to a standard where morale and motivation is maintained was paramount in the construction of these blocks. Sera Conservancy plan to recruit a full time pilot to be based in the Sanctuary, and construction planning for a pilot house is in the advanced stages. Capital equipment: motor vehicle, aircraft and others A Toyota Land Cruiser was purchased to assist in the fence maintenance team and the rhino monitoring rangers within the Sanctuary. In addition, VHF radio equipment was installed to support communication among the rangers, the Kenya Police, the Kenya Wildlife Service, neighbouring conservancies and NRT s central radio room. A Piper Super Cub aircraft is now available to Sera to provide aerial coverage and support as required for the Rhino Sanctuary. Sera rangers with binoculars, VHF radios, and solar chargers 11

15 Human capital Recruitment The management structure for the Rhino Sanctuary was integrated into the existing institutional structure of Sera Conservancy - which falls under the overall management of the Conservancy Manager and Board of Trustees. Recruitments for the Rhino Sanctuary comprised of the following: Conservancy Operations Officer Rhino Sanctuary Officer Rhino Security Unit (RSU) - a response team of 18 armed rangers Rhino Monitoring Rangers - 24 unarmed Fence Maintenance Team - 6 staff The RSU have undergone training at the KWS Manyani school and hold Kenya Police Reservist (KPR) status, allowing them to carry government issued weapons when necessary. This team backs up the 29 Sera Conservancy rangers, who patrol the entire Conservancy. 16 of these men also hold KPR status. The Rhino Monitoring Rangers include new recruits, as well as candidates drawn from the existing Sera ranger contingent. This team is deployed only within the Sanctuary, and are tasked with rhino monitoring and general security. They underwent a formal training course with the African Rhino Specialist Group, after which six team members gained practical experience through an attached to the Lewa rhino monitoring unit. A Sera Rhino Patrol ranger tracks the rhinos using an antenna - which picks up the signal of the transmitters fitted into their horns 12

16 chapter 5 - THE TRANSLOCATION PROCESS Black rhino translocation is a huge undertaking and requires meticulous planning and an experienced team. This translocation was conducted by the Kenya Wildlife Service with support from Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. Pre-translocation planning Planning meetings started in February 2015, with an initial meeting between KWS and a team from Lewa. A follow up meeting and field inspection were undertaken shortly after this, to confirm the final key infrastructural developments had taken place (holding boma, water availability and the release site). The Sera Conservancy Board and representatives from the rhino committee were also part of the planning process, tasked with creating awareness and engaging the support of all conservancy members. Preparation to receive rhinos Along with the major infrastructure such as roads and buildings, rhino-specific infrastructure was needed to facilitate the release process. This included a holding enclosure with separate compartments - intended to hold up to four rhinos in case close veterinary monitoring was required. As the days for the translocation got closer, free release sites were selected in Sera. Meanwhile, rhino monitoring teams at the source areas were following up on selected candidates to confirm their whereabouts and health. The capture team - made up of staff from KWS and Lewa - thoroughly inspected all equipment and conducted a full mock capture to test equipment and preparations properly. Sourcing candidates Rhinos were sourced from Nairobi National Park, Lake Nakuru National Park and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy - each contributing six, four and 10 respectively. Black rhinos in Kenya are managed as one national herd (meta population) with KWS leading the coordination. The three chosen sources are part of the existing 13 black rhino areas, and were chosen based on: Their estimated Ecological Carrying Capacity had been reached (or was close to) Their proximity to Sera Skewed population structure - sex ratio and age structure (areas with more females than males would automatically select females to translocate) The genetic structure of the sources are varied with higher heterogeneity thus combined will establish a population with a wider gene pool This selection of sources went beyond habitat structure and types as black rhinos adapt readily to various habitat types and structures. Selection of candidates This translocation to Sera was aimed at establishing a founding breeding population that can contribute to the meta population. This means that candidate selection was done carefully by identifying individuals with high breeding potential. The ideal age structure for a breeding population is between 3.5 and 20 years. The sex ratio for this population was also aimed at one male to one female. Targeted females were from families with good breeding background. Adult females chosen were those with sub adult calves and possibly in their very early stages of pregnancy. KWS ensured that there was the right balance of sex ratio and age structure from the selected sources and that the removals would not affect the overall population performance. 13

17 Capture and Translocation Rhino capture requires a highly organized functional team because speed and time are priority. The identified candidates are monitored closely for a few days prior to capture to allow them to be easily found on the day. On the morning of capture, the rhino monitoring team head out to find the candidates and inform the capture team of their location. The KWS vet darts the animal with a tranquilliser from a helicopter, and a ground team monitor the movement and safety of the rhino. It takes an average of seven to eight minutes for the tranquilliser to take effect. As soon as the animal goes down, the team spring into well coordinated action. The vet team monitor vital signs and take blood and faecal samples for disease screening and genetic profiling. Another team is charged with notching the rhino s ears for easy identification, and fitting a transmitter to the horn for tracking purposes. The rhino is then revived and guided into the transportation crate, which is loaded onto a lorry. A joint team of armed rangers from KWS and NRT Rapid Response Team (9-2) escorted the animals to Sera. This escort team also included a vet, a technician and the capture staff who periodically monitored the crated rhino until release. Post-translocation monitoring Several sites at Sera were identified for free release. These had to be easily accessibly by truck, close to water points, be surrounded by good vegetation for cover and forage but be far enough away from the perimeter fence. Once the truck with the rhino got to the site, the crate was off loaded and the animal released immediately. The Sera Rhino Monitoring Team followed up on the whereabouts of each rhino almost immediately after release using radio tracking equipment. The rangers ensure that they physically sight and confirm the status of each rhino on a daily basis. Overall, the rhinos have settled well. It is expected that some animals will lose body condition in a translocation like this due to stress and a change in diet. Those rhinos that did lose condition are now starting to return to their normal bulk, but continue to be closely monitored. It normally takes an approximately three months to one year for translocated a rhino to settle and establish their territories. Deaths Complications with translocations of this nature and magnitude can and do arise. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the veterinary and translocation teams, three rhinos died within the first ten days of their release into Sera. Two males aged between ten and 16 died on the 25th May, due to gut compaction from post-release related complications. A four year old female then died on the 4th of June after getting a twig stuck in her throat which made it difficult for her to feed. This would have been almost impossible to detect in the circumstances. Lessons learned from these deaths will be translated to phase II - most notably the issue of hydration. In cases where abundant surface water is not readily available, the animals will be held for a short period (around three days) to familiarise them to the environmental conditions of the area (habitat and browse). Holding will also ensure they can locate the permanent water sources, and build up a road map of the best areas for forage and cover - this will be vital when the animals establish their home ranges. 14

18 A rhino is revived and loaded into the transportation crate during one of the Lewa captures 15

19 chapter 6 - phase II During phase II of this project, NRT intends to sustain the rhino conservation momentum within Sera by ensuring effective surveillance and protection of the rhinos for the next three years. Phase II aims to achieve the following objectives: Successful translocation and establishment of the next 10 rhinos Minimise human-induced losses in phase 2 translocation Ensuring the safety and protection of rhinos through intensive anti-poaching patrols by the rhino monitoring rangers, use of radio telemetry/gsm technology to monitor rhino movements combined with security oversight by 51 Degrees. Effective rhino monitoring by engaging 29 rhino monitoring rangers to monitor the rhinos body health, forage condition and ensuring adequate supply of water within the sanctuary. The Sanctuary will be managed to prioritise black rhino. As such, herbivores such as elephant and giraffe that feed on the same woody vegetation will need to be closely monitored by the NRT research and monitoring department. Currently there are approximately 28 elephant remaining within the Sanctuary. When elephant numbers start having a negative impact on the environment, then the animals will be herded out through strategic gaps in the fence. The decision to move excessive elephants will be made by the Sera Rhino Committee under advice fro KWS and the NRT research and monitoring department. No specific authorities will be required to undertake this exercise as the elephant will not be physically handled, and are being pushed back into an existing elephant population outside the Sanctuary. Giraffe numbers will also be monitored and, when necessary, reduced, using the same herding method. Again, there is an existing giraffe population outside the Sanctuary. Pre-translocation planning There will be a series of planning meetings in preparation for the capture and translocation of the next ten rhinos to Sera. One of these meetings will confirm whether the environmental conditions at Sera are appropriate - this will largely depend on the quality of the October/ November short rains. The vet and capture team will also hold a meeting to confirm the logistics and equipment required to undertake this translocation successfully. A general meeting between KWS, Lewa, Sera Conservancy and NRT will be held closer to the translocation date to assign the various officers their responsibilities. Sourcing candidates The additional ten black rhinos will ideally be an equal split of male and females, making the overall sex ratio of the Sanctuary 50:50 male to female. This second phase aims to focus on the translocation of sub-adults and young adults with age ranges of between five to 12 years old. Six candidates will come from Nairobi National Park and the source of the remaining four have yet to be determined by the KWS Rhino Program Office. Nairobi National Park is currently overstocked and requires an urgent removals to maintain its optimum breeding performance. Selection and capture The selection of candidates will be done by the monitoring team at the source. The individual history of each 16

20 animal is checked to confirm paternity and behaviour, and this helps to determine selection. The capture process will be the same as phase I, with the selected rhino being darted, ear notched, and fitted with tracking devices (radio transmitters and transponders), before being revived and crated for transportation. Translocation The phase II translocation process will be similar to phase I - with the animals being transported by road to Sera and escorted by the capture team, armed rangers and vets, who will continuously monitor the animals on board. Similar to phase I, the rhinos will be free released. If any rhino is of concern to the veterinary team, it will be held in the temporary holding stockades for a period of 24 to 48 hours. This will allow the vets to ensure that the animal is well hydrated and feeding adequately before release. Post translocation monitoring will be conducted immediately by the Sera rangers, and regular evaluation of the rhinos and the Sanctuary will be carried out by a joint team from KWS, Lewa, Sera and NRT. chapter 7 - Rhino monitoring and security Rhino Monitoring Rhino monitoring is carried out by following the Kenyan National Standard Monitoring Protocol adapted from the IUCN African Rhino Specialist Group. The Sera Monitoring team have undergone training for this, and are able to effectively use these skills to monitor and report on progress of the Sera rhino sub population. Individual recognition monitoring starts by positively distinguishing each individual from obvious identification features like ear notches, body scars, unique horn shapes, missing/ half tails. The ten rhinos at Sera were fitted with transmitter which allows the monitoring team to locate each individual with ease. Body condition and overall health is assessed during each sighting for observation. Body condition scores follow a standard body condition scoring system. Any peculiarities observed are reported immediately for further investigation and, when needed, a veterinarian is called upon to advise or intervene. Behaviour of the individual, such as feeding, sleeping, fighting, mating, drinking, socialising, wallowing and dust bathing, is also noted. Breeding information will also be collected in Sera in due course, and will include any obvious mating signs, births (date of birth), parentage, age at first calving and calving intervals. This information is used to monitor reproductive performance. All this information is stored in the Kifaru database and monthly reports are generated and shared with the Kenya Wildlife Service. Anti-poaching and Security Response A separate dedicated anti-poaching team compliments the rhino monitoring team in Sera. This anti- poaching team comprises of 12 armed rangers, who patrol inside and outside the Rhino Sanctuary. This team work closely with the rhino monitoring team in responding to any potential threats, keeping vigil at night and working very closely with community members in the conservancy to gather any intelligence relating to poaching. The anti-poaching team also work closely with the Kenya Police and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) in the area to provide overall security to wildlife and people. They have the back up of the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy security unit and aerial support when needed. The community in Sera are being encouraged to participate in community policing and report any suspicious activity to the Sera rapid response team. 17

21 chapter 8 - Sustainability plans The long-term sustainability of Sera Conservancy is ensured through; The operational costs being sourced from NRT who have just signed a new five year agreement with USAID for the strengthening and expansion of the NRT conservancy model across Northern Kenya. Sera are key partners in this agreement The promotion of tourism investments in Sera. Once established, 40% of the revenue from tourism will support conservancy operations while 60% will support community development projects in water, health, education and infrastructure. With the introduction of black rhino, Sera is in a unique position to capitalise on the tourism potential and demand in northern Kenya An enhanced partnership with the County Government of Samburu to support some or all of the operational costs of Sera Rhino Sanctuary in future The NRT Endowment Fund, currently at an advanced stage of development. The aim is to provide sustainable finance to core operations for all NRT Conservancies in perpetuity Developing the capacity of the Conservancy management team to enable them to seek donor opportunities, and engage in proposal writing, grant management and reporting Ensuring cost-effective management of the Rhino Sanctuary to minimize operational costs The establishment of long term relationships with The International Zoo Community and private philanthropists. Given the shortage of water within the Sera Sanctuary the Board of Sera have invested in three permanent wells with solar pumps to distribute water further afield. Together with these permanent sources there is a natural spring at Lontopi Hill that has never been known to dry up. The Board will also be building a series of sand dams within the Sanctuary to increase distribution and availability of surface water for wildlife. Although water was a significant challenge in the early stages of development, these measures have ensured it is no longer a concern. Part of the reason Sera Conservancy was chosen for the Rhino Sanctuary was the fact that the surrounding land could accommodate rhinos if the community so wished in the future. Therefore long term-term plans to accommodate an increasing black rhino population will be based on the communities wish to either move rhino away to other locations, or expand the fence area to accommodate a larger population within the Sanctuary. In the unlikely event that the value of rhino horn drops and they are no longer a target for poachers, the animals could be placed outside the existing fence to repopulate the wider area. It is not expected that any consideration of translocation or expansion of the existing Sanctuary will be required before Potential for tourism development One of the main aims of the reintroduction project is for the Sera Community Conservancy to establish and maintain the resident black rhino population as economic asset. The unique position of the Sanctuary as the first community operated black rhino sanctuary in east Africa will enable the development of a targeted tourism strategy, which should bring employment and trading opportunities for the Sera communities. In order to examine the sustainability of both the Conservancy and the Rhino Sanctuary, NRT commissioned 18

22 the University of Oxford s Said Business School (SBS) to develop a 10-year Financial Sustainability Plan (FSP) for Sera. This is one of a series produced by the SBS for several of the NRT-supported conservancies. Current tourist activities in Sera account for 86% of Conservancy revenue. The FSP confirms that the Rhino Sanctuary will further support this, with projected revenues likely to contribute at least 10% of the annual operating costs in the long-term. The FSP also recommended further development of trading in local/natural products and Sera s involvement in NRT s livestock marketing programme, so build up resilience in case of a slump in tourism. In the best case scenario, the Conservancy would be 85% financially sustainable in Donor and County Government Funding Under the current approach of intergovernmental development agencies, there is increasing recognition of the role of community-lead conservation in the preservation of endangered species, the building of peace and the improvement of rural livelihoods. To this end, NRT has secured funding from USAID to support the strengthening and expansion of the NRT conservancy model across Northern Kenya. Sera are key partners in this agreement. SWC, NRT and partners will seek to enhance partnership with the County Government of Samburu to support some or all of the operational costs of Sera Rhino Sanctuary in future. Equally, Sera Conservancy will have access to the NRT Endowment Fund, which is currently at an advanced stage of development, with an aim of providing sustainable finance to core operations for all NRT Conservancies in perpetuity. NRT will also develop the capacity of the conservancy manager to enable them to seek donor opportunities, and develop long term relationships with conservation bodies, the international zoo community and private philanthropists. It is hoped that tourism revenues from the Sera Rhino Sanctuary will contribute to at least 10% of its running costs in the long term. 19

23 chapter 9 - partners County Government of Samburu As partners, the County Government of Samburu provided the political will necessary for the establishment of the Sanctuary. They also assist in the coordination with government security agencies (e.g. Kenya Police). Kenya Wildlife Service As a government institution, KWS has offered technical and logistical support through the National Rhino Programme Coordination Office from the start of the project. It also supported aerial and on-ground rhino identification, capture, and actual transportation of the 12 rhinos into the Sanctuary, as well as all the veterinary expertise and skill. The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) is the rhino management authority for the Government of Kenya, and is ultimately responsible for the conservation and management of all black rhinos in Kenya. For this reason and the fact that KWS also employs the country s Rhino Programme Coordinator, KWS is a key stakeholder in the proposed project, and will be a long-term, strategic partner to Sera. KWS and NRT have a very strong collaborative and mutually supportive relationship on wildlife protection and law enforcement. Fauna and Flora International (FFI) has a good history of collaboration with KWS which will benefit the project, including the role of the FFI Project Manager who was also a former Rhino Programme Coordinator within KWS ( ) and supervised the development and original stocking of many of Kenya s currently successful rhino sanctuaries over this period. Lewa Wildlife Conservancy Lewa Wildlife Conservancy (LWC) offered the technical and logistical support in the physical translocation of the rhinos together with KWS. As a successful private rhino sanctuary and catalyst for conservation outside its boundaries, LWC had significant expertise that provided mentorship to Sera in the rhino reintroduction plans. They provided security and rhino monitoring training, oversight of rhino and habitat monitoring, radio communications support, security support. Flora and Fauna International FFI is a long-term partner to NRT for community conservancy development in northern Kenya. They supported the initial establishment of Sera Conservancy in 2002, and provided the means for NRT to manage and expand its operations (through the seconded COO Matt Rice) for several years. FFI provided fundraising and donor links, technical support, links to the IUCN/SSC African Rhino Specialist Group and other international rhino conservation groups. St Louis Zoo Provided funding towards the purchase and installation of a solar powered water pump. U.S Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Provided financial support towards the sanctuary fencing, construction of housing complex, purchase of a Toyota Land Cruiser and VHF digital radio equipment. Also, through FFI, USFW provided translocation costs, training of armed security teams, and sanctuary operating costs Lundin Foundation Provided financial support towards sanctuary fencing; construction of housing complex; purchase of a Toyota Land Cruiser, VHF digital radio equipment, GSM/UHF transmitters and receivers, training costs for rhino monitoring and security personnel, translocation and sanctuary running costs. 20

24 Tusk Trust Tusk Trust financial support went towards construction of rhino holding pens. San Diego Zoo Animal husbandry, technical expertise and funding Zurich Zoo Animal husbandry, technical expertise and funding Private individuals Funding from private individuals went towards Sanctuary fencing, the purchase of a tractor and trailer, purchase of a Toyota Land Cruiser, GSM/UHF transmitters, Sanctuary running costs, project management and monitoring costs. Sera Conservancy chairlady, Pauline Longojine, talks to a local TV station about the rhino move. 21

25 chapter 10 - Budget and expenditure report Black Rhino Sanctuary expenditure report *Rate: 86 KSH to 1 USD Description Amount KSH Amount USD Income received 151, 461, 319 1, 761, 178 Expenditure cost: Assessment and action plan 8, 106, , Building construction 5, 713, , Fence construction 46, 429, , Water distribution 5, 660, , Capital equipment (vehicles, radios etc.) 27, 879, , Staff costs 8, 441, , Translocation of rhinos 18, 175, , Anti-poaching unit 28, 168, , Totals 148, 575, , 742, Surplus/ deficit 18,

26 Income breakdown Amount KSH Amount USD Neil Wade/Phillip Batty 52, 076, , Hawksford Trust 38, 438, , Lundin Foundation 21, 500, ,000 FFI - USFWS 14, 461, , 159* USAID 11, 253, , Tusk Trust 3, 631, , San Diego Zoo 3, 440, , 000 Zurich Zoo 3, 440, , 000 Terry Brewer 2, 580, , 000 St. Louis Zoo 640, 184 7, 444 Totals 151, 461, 319 1, 761, *FFI through USFWS have committed to USD 300,000 over three years ( ). 23

27 Forecasted Budget 2016 *Rate: KSH to 1 USD. 6% inflations on staff salaries have been factored. Item Amount KSH Amount USD Scouts rations 3,240,000 31, Staff salaries 17,775, , Fence maintenance 720,000 7, Meeting cost 604,000 5, Motor vehicle fuel 1,656,000 16, Operations cost 516,000 5, Scout s uniform 1,665,000 16, Vehicle repair & maintenance 1,440,000 14, SUB TOTAL 27,616, , Contingency cost (unforseen costs) 10% 2,761, , GRAND TOTAL 30,378, , chapter 11 - Appendices Supporting documents, such as feasibility studies, letters of endorsement, the management plan and vegetation assessments can be found here: 24

28 25

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