Every day this week we’ll be posting updates from Rotiken Dennis, a WWF supported rhino ranger working in the Mara region of Kenya. We’re bringing you this special week of content ahead of ‘Flight of the Rhino’, which is showing on Saturday at 8.30pm on BBC 2. Today, find out what rhino monitoring is all about…
Monitoring Africa’s rhinos isn’t a task for the faint-hearted. It brings you face-to-face with Africa’s wildlife and the people trying to kill them.
One of my favourite activities while I was working as a warden was rhino monitoring. You spend lots of time in very remote areas and get a deeper understanding of rhinos and other species. Rhino populations are struggling so it’s vital that we check up on individual rhinos as regularly as possible.
Monitoring rhinos can be a dangerous. By placing yourself very close to rhinos, you’ll often encounter other dangerous game such as lion, elephants and buffalo. Plus you’ll undoubtedly be chased by rhinos, so you have to be quick and keep your wits about you.
Once you get close to enough to a rhino it’s vital to record age, condition and behaviour. The data gives us a unique insight into their lives and characters – and a better understanding of how to look after them. It helps us manage the population as a whole, to encourage breeding and avoid potential outbreaks of disease. It also helps us decide on which rhinos are suitable for translocation – but more on that tomorrow…
Find out more about this essential work, with today’s update from Kenya by Rotiken Denis – head of the Masai Mara Rhino Monitoring Team.