Rhino Ark was established in 1988 as a charitable trust to help save Kenya’s Black Rhino population in the Aberdare ecosystem. The rhino were under severe threat from rampant poaching for their highly valued horn.
Wildlife would invade the farms bordering the park, destroying crops and occasionally killing people. The resulting fear and aversion towards wildlife worked in favour of poachers who got easy access since the local community saw no value in protecting either the wildlife or the forest habitat.
Rhino Ark’s formation was specifically to assist the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to build an electric fence along sections of the Aberdare National Park on its Eastern Salient which has the highest concentration of wildlife and borders directly onto farmland.
The scope of the initial project evolved into a much more ambitious task of protecting the entire Aberdare Conservation Area with a fence that would:
- Be powered by electricity to contain wildlife
- Be strong enough to withstand elephant pressure
- Curb illegal logging
- Curb snaring
- Curb poaching of wildlife (especially the critically endangered black rhino and bongo antelope)
The fence has brought harmony around the area and farmers now can enjoy peaceful sleep at night without fear of losing their lives, crops and homes.
Over the years, Rhino Ark’s work has evolved and expanded to include support for various community based conservation initiatives such as the Bongo Surveillance Programme designed to offer long-term solutions to the conservation of mountain forest ecosystems.
- 1989 – Aberdare Electric Fence construction started
- 28 August 2009 – Aberdare Electric Fence construction completed
- 12 March 2010 – Aberdare Electric Fence formally commissioned by H.E. Mwai Kibaki, the President of the Republic of Kenya
- 11 May 2012 – Aberdare Trust launched by the Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga, Prime Minister of the Republic of Kenya.
- July 2012 – Mt. Kenya Electric Fence construction started
- 6 September 2012 – Launch of the Mt. Kenya Electric Fence by Hon. Njeru Githae, Minister for Finance
- March 2013 – Eburu Electric Fence construction started
- 26 November 2014 – Eburu Electric Fence (43.3 km long) construction completed
The Trust is a public-private partnership with strong ‘Participatory Management’ by communities to ensure the objectives of the fence are met. This is intended to be a role model to be replicated in the other areas.