March 3, 2021

2020 Was a Great Year for Rhinos – Not a Single One of Them Killed by Poachers in Kenya

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2020 for sure will not be remembered as one good year, but for sure it was quite a year that will stay in people’s memories. But as it turns out, it was a good year for rhinoceros in Kenya, where for the first time in 21 years, not a single rhino died at the hands of a poacher.

While the whole world was dealing with the pandemic, that was not the only reason that stopped poachers from killing rhinos in Kenya.

Even though pandemic was a worrying situation, also with a worrying drop in tourism down to 92%, Kenya Wildlife Service still didn’t take a break from doing its job. They credited a multi-faceted approach and investment in intelligence for their successful anti-poaching efforts and strengthened collaborations with the law enforcement agencies and the local communities.


“Without tourists I think poachers might think KWS had gone to sleep, but instead we did the reverse and enhanced our efforts,” said KWS Director General Brigadier John Waweru.

They used sever strategies in their mission to stop poaching of rhinos. One of those strategies has involved tagging and tracking individual rhinos.

“The exercise entails cutting off a combination of small section(s) of the ear in a V shape to give an individual rhino a unique identification feature,” a KWS statement explained. The notches also help KWS keep an accurate count of the rhino population.

The notching exercise also included fitting horn transmitters and microchips on the rhinos.

The other important thing they did is working with the community and helping them understand their value to wildlife and who the coexistence is important.

“Wildlife does not belong to KWS, it belongs to every Kenyan; it is our shared heritage.” It’s not just rhinos benefitting from the increased anti-poaching efforts, either. In 2020, Kenya managed to get elephant deaths from poachers down to just 11 from 350 five years previous, the lowest ever recorded for a year.