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Friends of Conservation
60, Strand,
London, WC2N 5LR
Tel: 020 3667 7017
Email: focinfo@aol.com

Rhino

Black rhinos continue to be one of the most endangered animals in Africa. Its horn is still very much in demand for use in traditional medicine in Asia, as well as for ornate dagger handles in the Yemen. The demand is still so great that people are constantly lured into poaching by the vast sums of money they are offered to kill rhino, despite the consequences they face if they get caught. 

In 1972, 108 rhinos lived in the Masai Mara area. By 1982, this population had been illegally poached until only 11 animals remained. FOC responded to this urgent problem by introducing a rhino monitoring and protection programme to the area. The programme included a full time project manager as well as allowances for Reserve rangers, communication equipment, 4 wheel drive vehicles, computers for compiling statistics and other necessary equipment and infrastructure The mere fact that the poachers knew the team existed deterred them from entering the Reserve and by 1996, when FOC handed the programme back to the Masai Mara Reserve Authorities, rhino numbers totalled 40. FOC continues to monitor and protect wildlife outside the Reserve and works closely with communities to encourage a balance betweeen their needs and those of the wildlife with whom they co-exist.

Since 1989, FOC has involved a group of local Maasai as Community Rhino Scouts to protect the rhinos that live in two large unprotected group ranches outside the Reserve. The Scouts patrol the densely thicketed areas on foot obtaining information on the rhino’s whereabouts as well as raising awareness amongst communities surrounding the reserve.

The programme successfully combines the interest of people and their wildlife. It increases the importance of wildlife as a future asset as well as providing an economic incentive for communities to preserve the wildlife and habitat.

 

Cheetah

In the early 1900’s cheetah numbers worldwide were perhaps has high as 100,000. Today, scientists’ estimate as few as 12,000 remain, meaning that the world’s fastest land mammal is Africa’s most endangered cat.

In the late 1990s there was increasing concern about the declining number of cheetah sightings throughout Kenya. No-one knows how many cheetahs are left but based on previous studies it is estimated that only 500-1000 survive in pocketed populations. Whilst cheetahs pose less threat to human activities than other large predators, they are often feared and killed when they venture outside of protected areas.

FOC supports the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) in their efforts to conserve cheetahs and their habitat by raising funds and awareness in the UK. The CCF was founded in 1990 by Dr Laurie Marker and is dedicated to saving the cheetah. The CCF has been working in Namibia and conducted extensive research into the environment and physiology of the cheetah. To learn more about CCF and their work to save this charismatic cat, please click here.


Other species under protection


In addition to tracking and monitoring rhino movements, the Scouts have close relationships with local herdsmen and willl alert the community if they hear that predators are nearby to avoid any potential animal/people conflict.  They conduct regular patrols, checking for signs of illegal activities, such as poaching and charcoal logging.

Wildlife under their surveillance includes caracal, cheetah, eland, elephant, giraffe, greater kudu, leopard, lion, colobus monkey and African wild dogs.


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