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The 400km electric fence is a conservation tool put in place to help resolve multiple challenges facing the Aberdare Range ecosystem. By the 1980s, human activities including poaching, bush-meat hunting, snaring, illegal logging, charcoal burning and encroachment had almost decimated the population of critically endangered black rhino inhabiting the ecosystem.
Alongside this, crops were regularly damaged by wildlife, especially elephant; resulting in a major problem for farmers living next to the Aberdares’ protected areas. Encounters between farmers and wildlife occasionally led to human fatalities, and served to heighten tensions between humans and wildlife.
Construction of the fence began in 1989 and was completed in August 2009.
Today, in spite of the dramatic decrease in black rhino number during the 1980s, the Aberdares National Park still holds a small and genetically viable population of native black rhino. This is largely due to the construction of the fence.
A team of fence scouts based in ‘“Fence Energiser Stations’’”patrols the fence line daily, to carry out vital maintenance work and ensureit is kept in good working order.
The project is a partnership between Rhino Ark, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and the local communities. Rhino Ark and the Kenya Government provided the funds and KWS managed the construction work.