Fences can build good neighbours and fences can save the environment. One fence has done
wonders for protecting rhinos and water.
Colin Church, the chair of the Kenya-based Rhino Ark conservation group and a leading expert on African leading wildlife, said the fence, which took 21 years for local communities to complete, had failed to save the rhino in the uplands it surrounds.
However, it had succeeded in protecting a large forest area and the sources of four of seven of Kenya’s largest rivers, all of which rise in the Aberdares and provide electricity and water to major cities including Nairobi.
“In the early days, the motivation was to protect the black rhino, but then we all woke up to the fact that the farmers [who lived near the fence] were celebrating, and the reality is that this forested mountain area was the lifeblood for millions of people. We realised the whole ecosystem was at stake,” he said.
“Our thinking had to change.The Aberdares are now the most secure mountain ecosystem in the whole of Kenya and maybe Africa.”