A ground-breaking wildlife protection technology lab was opened on Wednesday at the 90,000-hectare Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Nanyuki, central Kenya, the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa. The conservancy is located on the foothills of the snowcapped Mount Kenya where the world's last remaining two northern white rhinos live. With the death of Sudan, the last remaining northern white male rhino in March 2018, the species was declared near extinct. The northern white rhinos were plenty in East and Central Africa but poaching decimated the species.
The new technology lab will introduce 24-hour animal monitoring at a scale never seen before in Africa that will be able to track all the animals, their body temperatures, migratory patterns and health among other things. It will also be used to protect critically endangered animals including 122 black rhinos, 32 southern white rhinos and two northern white rhinos who are among the thousands of elephants, lions, buffaloes, hyenas and zebras among other animals located at the conservancy.
Richard Vigne, the manager of the conservancy, said that it costs the conservancy $10,000 per rhino annually to secure them from poaching due to demand for rhino horn from the Far East.
He said that the new tech lab will fit rhinos with state-of-the-art chips that will replace the bulky and expensive traditional collars and track their every move in real time. The sensors can fit into a rhino horn.