article / 1 December 2023

Impacts of Rhino Fence on other Wildlife Species

Hello, My name is Rita Orahle, a Rhino Monitoring Officer from Loisaba Conservancy. In this article, I will give an update on research on the fence and key gained skills and support from the Women in Conservation Technology Programme.

Since the completion of the Women in Conservation Technology Programme facilitated by WildLabs, Fauna and Flora International, ARMS and Olpejeta Conservancy, I embarked to proceed with research on the rhino fence in Loisaba Conservancy. This study investigates how the fence design influences the impact on other wildlife species and assesses the impact of the fence structure and recommendations for future fence structures to limit the negative interactions for wildlife. 

The impacts include:

 (i)Entanglement-  Fences can pose a risk to various species, leading to accidental entanglement.

 (ii)Dispersal limitations- Fences can hinder the natural movement and dispersal of wildlife. Most species rely on large ranges to find resources, mates, and suitable habitats. Restricted movement can lead to population fragmentation and limit genetic diversity.

(iii) Conflict avoidance- Some species may need to move to avoid conflicts with predators or other individuals within their population. Fences can hinder their ability to escape or find alternative areas, potentially leading to increased stress and competition.

(iv) Increased risk to predation- Predators may use fences to their advantage by ambushing prey near or along the boundaries. This could lead to increased predation on species confined within the fenced areas. 

The Women in Conservation Technology Programme enhanced my skills in conservation technology tools such as Camera traps, Earthranger, and GIS. The use of such tools is vital in conservation, particularly in this project. 

Captured footage from the camera traps has been important in informing on the utilization of the corridors and behaviors of wildlife species when approaching the fence. I also had the opportunity to present the preliminary results of the study at the 1st Wildlife Scientific Conference 2023 in Naivasha, Kenya.

I plan to continue applying the technical skills gained from the Women in Conservation Programme and exploring more emerging technologies that could be applied to conservation.

In conclusion, I would like to thank WildLabs, Fauna and Flora International, ARMS and Ol Pejeta Conservancy for equipping women in conservation with technological skills and supporting us in our professional development. I would also like to appreciate the support from Loisaba Conservancy and San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance.

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