The impacts of translocating black rhinoceros ( diceros bicornis, linn. 1758) to lake Nakuru national park, Kenya
Waweru, F. K.
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In a bid to save the few remaining black rhinoceros in Kenya, the Government with assistance from local and international conservation agencies, established the first black rhinoceros sanctuary at Lake Nakuru National Park (LNNP) in 1987. A total of 17 rhinoceroses were translocated to the park, mainly from Solio Ranch Game Reserve (SRGR). This was in addition to the already existing two rhinoceroses. At the end of the translocation exercise, the total population was 19 rhinoceroses (8 females and 11 males), giving a sex ratio of 1:1.4. This was significantly different from the 1:1 ratio expected for rhinoceros in the wild. The translocated rhinoceros settled in the southern part of the park. The males had an average home range 2 size and standard errors of 7.3 ± 0.2 km and 11.2 ± 2. 2.4 km during the wet and dry season, respectively. The females mean home range size was 8.4 ± 2.3 km2 and 15.2 + 4.6 km during the wet and dry season, respectively. The female home ranges were significantly larger than those of the males during both seasons. However a high percentage home range overlap was observed. A total of 73 different food plants were fed on in LNNP as compared to only 54 in SRGR. A total of 37 plant species were common to both areas. However 36 new plant species absent in SRGR were included in the rhinoceroses diet in LNNP. Data on browse availability indicated that LNNP was a more suitable habi tat for rhinoceros as compared to SRGR. The development activities associated with the establishment of the rhinoceros sanctuary at LNNP were noted to have affected the ecology of the park and its animals in different ways.