Rhino Ark is a charitable trust formed in 1988 to respond to the grave crisis facing Kenya’s Black Rhino population in the Aberdare ecosystem. The rhino were under severe threat from rampant poaching for their highly valued horn. Rhino Ark’s initial aim was to build a fence along sections of the Aberdare National Park on its Eastern Salient where rhino were being mercilessly poached.
The Salient borders directly onto farming land. Wildlife was able to maraud at night into the farms bordering the park, destroying crops, creating fear and loss of both revenue and on occasions, lives.
This situation fuelled an already volatile community which saw no value in protecting either the wildlife or the forest habitat. Poachers had easy access.
Rhino Ark’s formation was specifically to assist the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to finance a protective fence around the Salient area which has the highest concentration of wildlife in the Aberdares. The initial project idea subsequently evolved into a much more ambitious task of encircling the entire Aberdare Conservation Area with a game proof fence. The fence, strong enough to resist elephant pressure, is powered by electricity to keep wildlife within and curb illegal log extraction, snaring, poaching of wildlife (especially rhino and the rare and elusive bongo) from without.
The fence construction work started in 1989 and completed on 28 August 2009. On 12 March 2010 the fence was formally commissioned by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Kenya, Hon. Mwai Kibaki.
Construction of the fence has brought harmony between wildlife and farmers around the Aberdare Conservation Area. The farmers now enjoy peaceful sleep at night without fear of land, crop and house destruction.
Over the years, Rhino Ark’s work has evolved towards seeking sustainable, long term solutions to the conservation challenges facing mountain forest ecosystems, and other areas of important biodiversity under threat. We support various community based conservation initiatives, including the Bongo Surveillance Programme. More information about our projects can be found in the ‘Our Projects’ section of this website.
In December 2010, Rhino Ark announced its formal commitment to supporting conservation of other mountain forest ecosystems. Initial areas of focus are Mount Kenya and Mau Mount Eburu.Click here to download a copy of the press release.
In order to secure the long-term management of the fence, the Aberdare Trust was launched on 11 May 2012 by the Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga, Prime Minister of the Republic of Kenya. The Trust is a public-private partnership with strong 'Participatory Management' by communities that will manage the fence and ensure that the objectives of the fence are met, through among others, properly implemented gate management and access policy. The Trust is intended to be a role model to be replicated in the other montane forest ecosystems.
Rhino Ark is registered as a Charity in Kenya, UK (Charity No. 1047083) and USA (with IRC 501 (c) 3 Status).