Kenya is home to the last three remaining northern white rhinos in the world.
The three rhinos stay under armed guard at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Nanyuki which is 195 kilometres from Kenya’s capital.
This is part of efforts to save the near-extinct species.
The rhinos include on male named Sudan, 43 and two other females Najin, 27, and her calf, Fatu, 13.
“So there are three Northern White rhinos in the planet in total. All of them are past the point of being able to reproduce, so what we are really seeing and witnessing is the extinction of this species,” said Richard Vigne CEO at Ol Pejeta Conservancy.
According to a 2014 UN and Interpol report, around 1,300 rhinos were killed illegally in Africa last year alone. This killings is mainly to feed the appetite of Asian markets. Furthermore, 20,000 to 25,000 elephants are killed in Africa every year.
It is against this background that Kenya is hosting its inaugural international wildlife summit to develop a cohesive action on tackling poaching of the continent.
Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for tourism, Najib Balala said, “We are proud to have done it, not just because of wildlife and conservation, I think this touches on our economy. And without conservation of wildlife we will not have tourism. Tourism is the one that feeds and supports the conservation program in this country.”
To end the ivory trade, Kenya imposed stiffer penalties for wildlife poaching or trafficking. The country’s economy relies on tourism as a vital foreign exchange earner.
“Anti-poaching is not going to solve the problem because ultimately the problem is driven by demand in Asia for these products so that is the ultimate solution. The challenge is, we do not know how long it is going to take for that demand to drop, is it one year, is it five years,” quizzed Max Graham, Founder and CEO of Space for Giants.
Meanwhile, the country will burn 120 tonnes of ivory at Nairobi National Park to discourage poaching and the illegal trade. Kenya banned ivory trade 25 years ago.