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amybatt

Sheldricks to partner in Meru Rhino Sanctuary project

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I received a mailing yesterday from David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust which was an appeal for donations for a new partnership, working with the Meru Rhino Sanctuary on a massive expansion project.  They note that the rhino population was decimated in the 70s-80s but now has 61 white and 28 black rhinos living in the sanctuary.  DSWT has already worked to help establish rhino sanctuaries in Nakuru and Ngulia, so this wouldn't be the first time doing this.  The proposed project would address the inadequate habitats in the existing Meru sanctuary, doubling the size of the sanctuary, replacing the perimeter fence allowing for wildlife corridors and expanding the western boundary of park and building security bases throughout the sanctuary to enable patrols and protection.  Long term goal is to "harbor one of the largest rhino populations in Kenya...serve as a donor to repopulate other areas where rhinos have been eradicated."

 

Total cost is estimated at US$400,000, so understandably they're reaching out to supporters for help.  I share this in case anyone else is interested in donating.

 

I'm curious about the existing Meru Rhino Sanctuary, has anyone been, and what's the rhino sighting experience like there?

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I've only visited once in 2006 when we saw 5 white rhinos. The grass was very high that December and we stopped for a breakfast picnic.

 

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Ignore the brains fart about a Pygmy falcon - we death with that!!

 

And some darker thoughts.towards the end of this post. This was 2013 though.

 

 

 

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I was there in June of this year and there were many rhino to be seen.  We saw a least one on every drive to and from Meru. The sanctuary appeared well taken care of.  We entered each day and drove through it to Meru National Park.  Comparing to Ol Pejeta, it didn't seem to have the same quality of infrastructure and the rangers seemed a bit more lax with regard to entrance. That may have been simply because they knew our camp and guide so didn't need to be as thorough.  

 

I would like like to see where the additional acreage for the sanctuary would be obtained.  It appeared to me that there were communities and small farms surrounding the sanctuary.  

 

 

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Thank you both for the details, @Pamshelton3932 And @Patty  As I toy with a return to Kenya I'm wondering what other area (in addition to the Mara) I should go to.  Meru seemed like a candidate but now that I know the rhino sightings are good....  Just wish I'd gotten there before Offbeat Meru closed.

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@amybatt, I was saddened by the Offbeat closing as well.  Elsa's was out of my budget so we opted for Rhino River Camp which was in a lovely setting but a fairly long drive through the Rhino Sanctuary in the park.  I'd recommend it though if your budget can't stretch to Elsa's.  We were very happy with our choice.  

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Posted (edited)

Interesting. I too am curious how and where they could find the extra acreage for an extension to the sanctuary. I am assuming that the 400,ooo is initial costs for the rebuilding programme. would be interested to hear how they are going to fund the ongoing costs of running a much bigger sanctuary.

 

My experience of the current sanctuary was that entrance was a bit lax but that was because the guard knew my guide. Still had to sign in and out. And there were sufficent rangers in the sanctuary to check on who was travelling around it.  During my visit the rangers were looking for an injured/ill rhino and it was very clear from their faces and reactions they were very concerned it and wanted to do their best for the animal.

White rhino easier to spot, we spotted several very close to close to the roads as well as 1 heading back nto the bushes. Couldnt find black rhino Vegetation is very dense!

 

Offbeat/Elsa's etc. Offbeat was also slightly out of the park if my memory is good so I had to enter and leave the park each day. Elsa's is a good location in the park but I couldnt justify spending so much extra per night for nothing more than a slightly better location withn the park. If I had done that the duration of my visit would have been shorter. Someone needs to take the plunge and put another reasanably priced camp in there....I know easier said than done! I have heard that Laikipia Wilderness are now doing a mobile camp into Meru. If sufficient people willing to go, that could be another option.

Edited by CaroleE
missed out info re visit
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Posted (edited)

The KWS Kinna Guesthouse and Kinna Cottages are well located in the park if looking for a lower budget alternative http://www.kws.go.ke/content/meru-national-park I believe @Atravelynn has stayed there. Offbeat was in Bisanadi if I recall correctly.

Edited by Patty
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Thank you for the tips on Meru.  Good food for thought as I consider my next trip to Kenya.  I'd love to go somewhere that has the high chance of seeing rhino like that.

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