An Electronic Hunt for Lions & Rhinos

Rhino

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Sometimes technology works surprisingly well in the natural world, enhancing the environment and benefiting our wildlife friends. Such are the latest digital improvements in big game management and conservation, protecting our lions, cheetahs, and rhinos.

Ever heard of light-weight radio collars placed on lions and rhinos? These ingenious devices track their comings and goings. With this information, rangers and conservationists can protect them from poachers, alert herders, and minimize possible human-wildlife conflict.

Not only do these devices help safeguard wildlife, but they have the added bonus of improving your safari experience. Picture yourself on a game drive in your 4 x 4 Jeep or a walking safari – your guide holds up an electronic locator, locating a lion, leopard, cheetah, or rhino.

Now you spot the animal and slowly moving forward, you can see it, there on its neck, the electronic collar, sending out its signal.

Not only are you receiving its beacon but so is a monitoring station, keeping an important record of that animal’s whereabouts, so vital to its survival.

Does Monitoring Help?

All across Africa, the number of lions and rhinos has decreased. From 200,000 big cats twenty years ago, today’s population stands at about 20,000. Loss of habitat, disease, drought, and animal-human conflict have all contributed.

But now, with the monitoring programs, conservationists better understand the wildlife’s migration patterns and can be alerted when a new cub appears or an older animal dies. Human conflict has been reduced and there is an increased awareness of environmental hazards.

Map showing the movements of electronically tagged safari animals

Sometimes the big cats will stray from their protected areas such as national parks and conservancies. They may wander into areas populated by humans or livestock; this is the time of greatest danger to them. By alerting rangers to their movements, people can be warned to give the straying animals a large cordon of safety.

In the Ewaso area in northern Kenya, monitoring has helped the lion population grow from just 11 to over 50 active adults.

Electronically tagging a lion

A Collar Fit For A Big Cat (or Rhino)

These radio collars are extremely lightweight, they are only about 1% of the animal’s weight so they don’t impact their ability to hunt or otherwise normally move.

A veterinarian uses a tranquilizer dart, to subdue the animal, and the collar is fitted. It begins broadcasting signals of the animal’s whereabouts. Later, if needed, the collar can be remotely dropped using just a radio signal.

Now transmitting, the collar’s signal can be picked up by local receivers and even by satellite, and relayed to monitoring stations, where the animal’s movements can be tracked, often in real time.

And, these animal-based signals can also be received by your guide on safari to bring you closer to this precious wildlife.

Go On A Tracking Safari

Private conservancies are your best bet for joining an electronic tracking safari as they often have the most resources. Bordering the Masai Mara, check out Ol Kinyei Conservancy which offers the Mara Predator Conservation Program, monitoring the wildlife.

North of Nairobi, the Mugie Conservancy tracks outfitted lionesses from several prides.

Lioness with yawning lion cub

Also in northern Kenya, the Sera Community Conservancy tracks collared rhinos. Starting in your Jeep, you’ll electronically locate a rhino and then continue quietly on foot getting up close for an exciting view of the great creature.

Sound like an exciting way to Safari? Just contact us and we’ll make all the arrangements to get you out in the fields on an exciting electronic safari.

Book your East Africa safari holiday today with Africa Kenya Safaris

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All fields with an asterisk (*) are required

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Help us create your perfect Safari! Tell us about your travel choices, any unique experiences you desire, and upcoming special occasions.