(Picture courtesy of Kenya Wildlife Service)
Good news emerged from Kenya that KWS has last week successfully completed the relocation of 21 Eastern Black Rhinos to the Ruma National Park, formerly known as Lambwe Valley National Park when this correspondent still lived in Kenya and visited the area a few times.
Supported by the Wordwide Fund for Nature, or WWF, KWS brought the animals from two of Kenyas rhino sanctuaries, amongst them Solio, where incidentally the Rhino Fund Uganda got 6 of the Southern White Rhinos from we brought into the country during my chairmanship, 2 for UWEC in Entebbe and 4 for the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.
Ruma National Park was only last year designated and equipped to become a dedicated rhino sanctuary and the arrival of 21 rhinos is seen as the biggest bonus to finally bring tourists to Western Kenyas many unexplored tourism attractions, both islands in Lake Victoria but also on land, where the rich cultural heritage of the Luo tribe has visitors much to offer and to show.
After acclimatizing to their new habitat and home it is hoped that the rhinos will soon start to mate and reproduce, now that a core breeding stock has been introduced to the park. Monitoring and security, at the perimeter but also around the animals, has been stepped up considerably since the arrival of the 21 to ensure that poaching is literally ruled out.
Visitors to the park can stay at one of the campsites or else use the KWS owned nearby Oribi Guest House, where a fully equipped kitchen supports self catering guests, though catering arrangements can be made if done so well in advance. The park is home to over 400 species of birds, resident and migratory, which makes it a preferred area for birdwatchers and the large number of other mammals, including the rare roan antilopes, oribis, hartebeest, impalas, reedbucks, buffalos, hyenas and leopard to name but a few, offer sightings to tourists without swarms of other vehicles around them, guaranteeing a superior safari experience.
Other options for visitors are to stay in the town of Homa Bay on Lake Victoria or further away in Kisumu. Notably, the park presently does not use the common Safaricard payment system so cash is required to enter Ruma.
Well done to KWS and all missing now are more visitors to see the new arrivals.