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SOS Rhino : In the News : Rhino Calf Birth Heralds New Beginning for Kenya's Magnificent Meru National Park

Rhino Calf Birth Heralds New Beginning for Kenya's Magnificent Meru National Park


From International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)
Friday, April 11, 2003 12:00:00 AM

(Meru, Kenya - 11 April 2003) - Kenya's Meru National Park celebrated a rare new arrival last Sunday, when one of nine endangered white rhinos translocated to the park in March gave birth to a healthy calf - the first born in the park in 20 years.

Poachers devastated Meru National Park in the '80s, wiping out all but one lone rhino. So for the park's dedicated rangers, and the International Fund for Animal Welfare IFAW -- ( who funded the recent rhino relocation effort, the arrival of this baby rhino symbolizes the successful rebirth of this, one of Kenya's most magnificent parks.

Commenting on the birth of the calf, Meru Park Senior Warden Mark Jenkins said, "This is indeed an exciting moment for Meru Park, KWS, and the entire country of Kenya. That the park has become habitat for the rare white rhino means that our hard-earned efforts to rebuild this park back to its former glory succeeded. We are very that the new birth was successful and both mother and calf are in good shape."

IFAW Regional Director for East Africa, James Isiche was equally ecstatic about the birth, saying, "The dedicated staff of IFAW who have worked so hard with KWS to make Meru Park a success are just elated by the birth of this new rhino calf. We are all optimistic that this is just the beginning of many more successes that the park will experience."

The rehabilitation of Meru Park - a project that began in 2000 - has been challenging, and demands great dedication from the park's staff, as well as immense support and goodwill from IFAW, Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) and members of the local community. With assistance from IFAW and AFD, animal species - including elephants and the white rhinos -- are being reintroduced into the park to reestablish populations that were wiped out by poachers in the '70s and '80s.

"My staff and I have been focused almost entirely on wiping out banditry within the park and our efforts are already bearing fruit. The local community has been of great assistance in many ways and tourists have begun to trickle back," added Jenkins.

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