The construction of the fence – for the rhinos’ new 701.5 acre enclosure – is ongoing. Our team is working as hard as they can to stay on schedule for the release of the rhinos the first week of April. Our four rhinos – Sudan, Suni, Najin and Fatu – have become much more relaxed with the presence of the workmen and vehicles involved. They are also enjoying going back up to the top of the boma, where they graze on what seems to be their favourite red oat grass!
There has been an unprecedented amount of rainfall in Kenya in the last few weeks, very unusual for the months February and March. These are the heaviest rain falls we have seen in some years, and Ol Pejeta is very wet and muddy. We have witnessed some spectacular thunder and lightning storms. Though the rhinos have enjoyed playing and rolling around in the rain, earlier in the week they were still nervous of all the vehicles and noises coming from the construction site. We were cautious of not having them out in the boma, charging around in panic at any unfamiliar sounds with the surface being so slippery.
But sometimes you get caught off-guard and on Sunday afternoon, while the girls were out, an unexpected storm came in. Within minutes the rain was coming down with such ferocity you couldn’t see more than a few feet in front of you. Berry felt that it would be total madness to try and get the girls in. She decided to let them calmly find their own shelter in the bush – as this will be the way forward for them once they are released in the big enclosure. They remained very calm, sticking together and cautiously headed into the thick acacia bushes until the storm subsided 20 minutes later. They’ve had it all this week, thunder lightning, huge downpours and hailstorms. It’s great to see them taking it in their stride and staying calm through some spectacular storms. They have had a lot of experience of being out in the snow at Dvur Kralove which has stood them in good stead with this week’s extreme conditions, they’ve handled it well. After a heavy downpour the rhinos, whose appetites have remained good throughout, seem to love getting stuck into the fresh grass and grazing, enjoying the smells and taste of the wet African grass. The boys continue to go out regularly in the 400 x 400 meter enclosure, spraying urine to mark their territory. They show a lot of interest in the girls through the fence and boma walls and we are continuing to give them plenty of contact in preparation for the introductions next month. We do hope the next week will bring some dryer weather for them, and for our workmen who are trying to finish the fence on schedule!