Ebola is responsible for a dramatic drop in funds for East Africa’s largest rhino sanctuary.
The “severe financial hole” for Ol Pejeta conservancy has been caused by a decline in tourism, according to the sanctuary’s CEO Richard Vigne.
While Ebola strikes the world, important tourism trade has also taken a hit (according to safaribookings.com). Relying largely on funding from tourism, East Africa’s largest black rhino sanctuary, Ol Pejeta, has pleaded with the public for support.
Talking to World of Animals, Mr Vigne said:
“Despite the fact that Africa is a massive continent and Ebola is confined to a few countries in West Africa […] the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa has had a very negative impact on tourism arrivals in Kenya.”
Mr Vigne says that Ol Pejeta “desperately needs to raise donations” as they continue to tackle the ever-increasing pressure of illegal poaching.
“We can’t downsize our rhino security operations just because we have lost revenue. This means that currently we are losing money very quickly, a situation that is going to be difficult to sustain going forwards unless tourism turns around quickly.”
A haven for African wildlife, Ol Pejeta’s 90,000-acre site is home to the rarest rhinos on the planet. They protect four of the six last remaining Northern white rhinos. The conservancy is also home to 100 black rhinos, elephants and Kenya’s only chimpanzees.
150 rangers, 32 of which are armed, patrol the land risking their lives to protect the animals in the park. Patrols start at dusk using GPS technology and night vision goggles. Thermal imaging cameras detect poachers, while a dog unit on the ground comprises of 14 dogs trained to hunt down trespassers.
The organisation protects keystone species, as well as providing jobs for local people. Profit is reinvested into further wildlife conservation and community outreach.
An online donation site is up and running to support the sanctuary’s work, and donations of any size will help. Rhinos face a real threat of extinction from poaching, help Ol Pejeta save these critically endangered animals here. Learn more about the Save Rhinos Now campaign here.