tonnes of co2 emitted
acres of forest lost
For the first time in over three years a rhino in Chyulu Hills National Park, Kenya - an area we've worked so hard to protect - has been killed. This is a sure sign that the gruesome increase in rhino poaching seen in other areas has finally arrived on our doorstep.
On Saturday evening (18th August) the Rangers post at the Kitia water point heard seven gunshots. They deployed, set up an ambush but nothing was seen. The following day two vehicles and two teams were sent to back up the Kenyan Wildlife Service (KWS). No tracks or signs of anything were found.
The search continued, by now there was about 40 men on the ground and the rhino was finally found - a mature bull, still alive but only able to hobble due to the immense pain it was in. The Tsavo vet was flown in and the rhino darted. All seven shots had hit it and its chances of survival were zero. Sadly the decision was made to put it down. As the poacher had been scared off the rhinos horn was still intact but had to be removed.
Our partners in the Chyulu Hills - the Maasailand Preservation Trust - work tirelessly to protect the rhinos so for them to have to do the one thing they are trying to prevent others from doing is just heart-breaking. They have done everything they can with the equipment they have but there is still a dreadful feeling of failure, coupled with a sick feeling in all our stomachs.
So far there is only one lead from an informer, it's somewhat sketchy but at least it's something. One thing is clear - this was the work of a professional and if we're going to prevent it from happening again we HAVE to find the money for additional fencing, increase the number of security outposts and install more camera traps.
It is the ONLY way we can save the rhinos of the Chyulu Hills.