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Monday, 10 June 2019   /   published in Rhinos

RHINO CONSERVATION AND MEDICINE Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Institute

Rhinoceros populations across Africa are threatened by poaching, habitat loss and disease. Kenya is home to a significant rhinoceros population, which includes the last two northern white rhino (Ceratotherium simum cottoni), roughly 80 percent of the remaining critically endangered eastern black rhino (Diceros bicornis michaeli) and a healthy population of southern white rhino (Ceratotherium simum). As such, Kenya represents an important stronghold for rhino conservation.

To counter threats and ensure that free-ranging rhino receive state-of-the-art veterinary care, the Global Health Program is convening experts in rhinoceros medicine and related techniques (e.g., field and lab methodology) to conduct an advanced rhino medicine workshop in Kenya. This workshop will facilitate knowledge exchanges between rhino experts in Kenya and abroad, and identify opportunities to strengthen veterinary, diagnostic and research capacity to ensure the long-term conservation and health of rhinoceros populations in Kenya.

Emerging infectious diseases also pose a threat to wildlife. GHP staff are collaborating with Kenya Wildlife Service and Mpala Research Centre, to identify, characterize and develop treatment plans for a newly recognized severe, ulcerative skin infection of eastern black rhinos in northern Kenya. The cause of this disease is still unknown, and its effects on short-term health and long-term survival of infected rhinos remains unclear.

The Global Health Program is working with partners at the Kenya Wildlife Service, Ol Jogi Wildlife Conservancy and Mpala Research Centre, among others,

to secure a future for Kenya’s rhinoceros populations.

This research was supported, in part, by Friends of the National Zoo’s Conservation Nation program.