Kenya Aims to Quadruple Black Rhino Population in 25 Years

Poachers have killed 93% of Kenya's black rhinos since 1970. At that time, 20,000 of the animals roamed Kenya's plains. Now, there are just 540 black rhinos left in the country, out of just 3,725 worldwide.

But Kenya takes its black rhino stewardship seriously. The Kenya Wildlife Service has announced a five-year plan to increase the species' population to 700, and a 25-year plan to bring numbers up to 2,000. (That's still just 10% of what it once was, but hey, it's a start.)

The plan could be a bit risky. This February, the KWS will start moving some rhinos from protected sanctuaries into open spaces where they can "reproduce naturally," according to the AFP news service. KWS will then ask local communities to help protect the rhinos as part of their regular use of the land.

Of course, moving the rhinos out of protected sanctuaries could put them in back poachers' sights, but Kenya says that their surveillance of rhinos is "at its highest ever," so one can hope.

The three remaining black-rhino sub-species are considered critically endangered (one sub-species was declared extinct last year), and of course trade in their highly desired horns is banned.

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