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KWS launches housing project for rhino protection at Nairobi National Park

Tourism CS Najib Balala speaks to journalists during the launch of the dignity housing flag off ceremony at the KWS Headquarters. Image: As originally published by The Star.

Nancy Agutu, The Star Kenya | March 8, 2021

Read the original story here.

The Kenya Wildlife Service has launched the Dignity Housing Project for the Rhino Protection and Monitoring Unit Rangers in Nairobi National Park.

Each fabricated, 20-foot container has a kitchenette, mounted beds, shelves, washrooms with hot showers and lighting, and will ensure our rangers have increased security, which translates to higher motivation and better rhino and wildlife protection.

Through the container Housing, the rangers will have Increased security, Improved living conditions,  Increased moral and motivation and Better rhino and wildlife protection.

Tourism CS Najib Balala said the project aims to do 25 containers in total during which the tents currently housing the rangers will gradually be phased out.

In 1996, Nairobi National Park was declared a rhino sanctuary for both the highly endangered black and white rhinos when the first individual was introduced.

The sanctuary is one of the most successful rhino sanctuaries in East and Central Africa, hosting a population of approximately 111 black and 24 white rhinos.

On that note Security has become an integral part of rhino management, which is why KWS has deployed a 79-strong, dedicated force for 24-hour surveillance and monitoring of rhinos in the park.

All KWS rangers are affectionately dubbed the three ‘Rs’ – reliable, resilient and resourceful.

The rhino rangers are distributed all over the park in 25 small teams, to man sectors of the park called blocks.

They are in the bush 24 hours each day for 11 months, and are housed in tents, while others occupy uniports which have proven to be uncomfortable.

The tents wear out rapidly and sometimes leak, which requires frequent replacement, an extremely expensive venture.

Weather conditions have a great impact on the said accommodation due to temperature extremities.

These challenges notwithstanding, and driven by the love for our country’s heritage, our rangers have continued working with zeal to protect the country’s flora and fauna.