Protecting Black Rhinos in Kenya by Empowering an All-Women Ranger Unit

Category Protect

The African black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) has encountered considerable threats over the years, such as habitat loss, climate change effects, and poaching for its horn. The population decline has been drastic, with Kenya's estimated 20,000 black rhinos in the 1970s plummeting to fewer than 400 by 1984.

Although progress has been made, with Kenya's black rhino population nearly doubling for the first time in 20 years, much work remains to safeguard this critically endangered species.

Photo Courtesy of ZEITZ Foundation. Photographed by Crookes

Creating a Rhino Sanctuary Guarded by Women Rangers

The ZEITZ Foundation, situated at the Segera Conservancy in Kenya, is working to establish a sanctuary to expand the black rhino's range and enhance connectivity efforts. This project will support the all-women ranger unit in securing the sanctuary and protecting the rhinos.

The project's primary objectives include empowering at least ten local women as rangers, securing 20,000 acres for black rhino conservation by the end of 2024, and protecting a minimum of 25 rhinos in the sanctuary by 2030.

Promoting Gender Equity and Women's Leadership

Founded in 2008, the ZEITZ Foundation adheres to a holistic "4C" philosophy that balances conservation, community, culture, and commerce. The foundation understands that conservation initiatives involve not only safeguarding wildlife but also empowering people.

As one of the first all-women anti-poaching ranger units, this project is entirely led and operated by women. It will promote gender equity in the local pastoral community and shift mindsets regarding women's leadership.

Fostering a More Sustainable Africa for All

Protecting the black rhino extends beyond conservation; it also addresses climate change. As essential grazers, black rhinos consume vast amounts of vegetation, helping shape the African landscape.

Their conservation will also protect other species dependent on the same habitat. By guarding the black rhino, the ZEITZ team and rangers contribute to the overall health of the ecosystem and help mitigate climate change impacts.

The vision of success encompasses an increasing rhino population, enhanced well-being for the women rangers and their beneficiaries, and a more sustainable Kenya for all.