BACK FROM THE BRINK
In 1971, the Maasai Mara Game Reserve had approximately 120 black rhinos, but by 1984 this number plummeted to just 18 individuals due to poaching. When the Mara Conservancy started in 2001, there was only one known rhino left in the Mara Triangle: an aggressive female, very wary of people and vehicles, and very difficult to spot. However, after only a few months of Mara Conservancy’s regular patrols and successful arrests of poachers, security in the area increased and in 2002, male rhino moved into the Triangle and mated with the female.
Three successful matings and the addition of other rhinos that migrated into the area has increased the Mara Triangle’s resident population upwards of ten individuals. Unfortunately this is not a reflection of the Maasai Mara population as a whole, which still hovers between 25 – 30 individuals. The Maasai Mara National Reserve has the country’s only indigenous black rhino population, unaffected by translocations. Due to the size of the Reserve, this population has the potential to become one of the largest in Africa, as long as it is protected.
- Population Dynamics and Future Conservation of a Free-Ranging Black Rhinoceros; M.J. Walpole et al.; 2000
- An Apparent Decline in the Maasai Mara Black Rhino Population; M.J. Walpole & P. Bett; 1999
- Status of the Black Rhinoceros in the Maasai Mara National Reserve; Max Morgan-Davies; 1996
- Factors Affecting the Recovery of the Maasai Mara Rhino Population: Matt Walpole, Geoffrey Karanja, Noah Sitati & Nigel Leader-Williams; 2003
- Feeding and drinking habits of the black rhinoceros in Maasai Mara Game Reserve; J. G. Mukinya; 1977
- Density, Distribution, population structure and social organisation of the black rhinoceros in Maasai Mara Game Reserve; J.G. Mukinya; 1973