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Wildlife & Ecosystems

Saving Kenya’s Black Rhinos

Earthwatch participants collected critical data to help ensure the survival of Kenya’s black rhinos.

Previously Funded Expedition

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The facts

Why the research is important

Why the research is important

Earthwatch researchers gathered data to help make accurate predictions regarding damage to trees, available food, and other concerns.

Protecting wildlife is just a start; managing reserves ensures the welfare of species in the long term.

What will happen to Kenya’s wildlife reserves as populations of rhinos and other animals grow? Earthwatch researchers gathered data to help make accurate predictions regarding issues such as damage to trees, available food, and other concerns. Park managers use these predictions to determine how many animals can live in a given area, with the overall aim of maximizing black rhino breeding potential.

To determine just how many animals can sustainability inhabit an enclosed reserve, researchers developed a GIS map of the reserve and surrounding ranches, showing the amount of vegetation in the area over time. If rhinos and elephants were changing the amount of vegetation, the maps would clearly indicate the amount and type of change.

Earthwatch investigators also looked at questions such as: How have rhinos adjusted their home ranges since the reserve expanded? Have rhinos and other animals found enough to eat? Are elephants and rhinos competing for space? Are giraffes competing for food with rhinos or elephants?

Endangered black rhino, grazing

This project investigated habitat issues pertinent to conservation of black rhinos in Kenya.

In addition to conducting research on rhinos and elephants, the scientists and volunteers investigated the declining population of Jackson’s hartebeest. The findings suggested that the hartebeest might be declining because of predators in the area.

About the research area

Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Nanyuki, Kenya, Africa

Daily life in the field

Itinerary

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The Scientists

Dr. Geoffrey Wahungu, Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Kenya

Research by Dr. Wahungu, supported by Earthwatch volunteers, enabled a model for rational management of the black rhino habitat in Ol Pejeta.

MEET THE LEAD SCIENTIST

Geoffrey
Wahungu
Lecturer, Moi University, Kenya

ABOUT Geoffrey Wahungu

Dr. Wahungu teaches and consults on wildlife research and monitoring.

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Accommodations and Food

Accommodations and Food

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