Upendo was a 22-year-old female black rhino and was brutally killed by poachers on Ol Pejeta on the 13th of March Both her horns were taken and her one month old calf was found

Both her horns were taken and her one month old calf was found clinging to its mother’s body by our rangers

(Nanyuki, Kenya). As the triennial Conference of Parties of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) drew to a close last week in Bangkok, and after conservationists all around the world sounded the alarm on rhino poaching, the Ol Pejeta Conservancy lost a female black rhino to poachers.

On March 13th, 2013, at approximately 6:20pm, gunshots were heard on the Ol Pejeta Conservancy. Our armed teams responded right away. During their deployment, they came face to face with four of the poachers, exchanged gunfire and it is believed that some of the poachers were wounded. However, in the end, the poachers got away. Our security team is currently working with the Kenya Police and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) anti-poaching unit to follow any possible leads to apprehend the culprits.

This is Upendo’s one month old calf. After the poaching incident he was flown to Lewa where he is being watched by four caregivers. He is being fed milk daily.

The first few days were difficult for this young calf who kept calling for his mother, but he has now settled in nicely on Lewa and is making friends with his caregivers.

“Cases of rhino poaching are on the rise and though this is the first incident in over a year, we are nonetheless working on increasing our security measures by working with government agencies and international partners to deploy aerial drones to help protect our wildlife,” Richard Vigne, Ol Pejeta’s CEO confirms the Conservancy’s commitment to protecting its flagship species.

The hefty price paid for rhino horn has led to international crime syndicates cashing in on the illegal killing of rhinos, giving poachers access to sophisticated gadgets and equipment. Conservationists warn that Africa’s rhinos are facing the worst poaching crisis in decades, with the most serious poaching upsurges in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya. Black rhino populations are currently at 4,800 and are listed as “critically endangered” on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List

SOTI – urges all to stand fast and end this Rhino poaching. Please support all organisations as this is a matter of urgency.

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