Lola the black rhino

Lola is a 10-year old female black rhino living on Ol Pejeta Conservancy in central Kenya. Lola was orphaned at birth and needed a lot of help from loving caretakers. She now roams free throughout the Conservancy, often in the company of her friend Nabuul, who was also rescued by Ol Pejeta as a young calf. Everyone is eagerly awaiting the day that Lola has a baby of her own. Ol Pejeta employs rangers to keep 24-hour watch over Lola and over 110 other black rhinos to protect them from poaching.

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About Lola

Lola was born on 5th May, 2007. Unfortunately, her mother Mawingo was partially blind and hence unable to offer adequate care & protection for her. This caused Mawingo to separate from Lola, two weeks after her birth. Lewa Conservancy staff found Lola in the thick bushes and hand reared her (and her older brother, Elvis). When she was three years old, Lola sustained injuries inflicted on her by another male black rhino, and was at risk of death. This prompted her transfer to Ol Pejeta Conservancy in June of 2010.

At Ol Pejeta, Lola was placed in the Endangered Species Enclosure, where she developed a bond with another orphaned rhino, Nabuul. In 2014, Lola and Nabuul were released from the enclosure and ventured out into the wild. They had reached the age of sexual maturity and there were no males within the enclosure with whom they could mate.

Lola was able to adapt very quickly to life in the wild, under the close supervision of Ol Pejeta wildlife monitoring teams.

She is still occasionally spotted hanging out with her old friend, Nabuul.

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Black rhino facts

  • The black rhino is smaller than the white rhino, although adults can still reach 1.5 metres in height and weigh in at 1.4 tonnes. The species is distinguished from the white rhino by a prehensile upper lip (hence the alternative name of hook-lipped rhino), which it uses to feed on twigs of woody plants and a variety of herbaceous plants.

  • Adult black rhinos are mostly solitary. Mother and daughter pairs may stay together for long periods of time, while a female without offspring may join up with a neighbouring female.

  • Black rhinos may reach 40-50 years of age.

  • Black rhinos were once found throughout sub-Saharan Africa, with the exception of the Congo Basin. However, relentless hunting by European settlers and poaching for rhino horn have caused their numbers to quickly decline. Thanks to successful conservation and anti-poaching efforts, the total number of black rhinos has grown to around 5,000.

  • The species is currently found in patchy distribution from Kenya down to South Africa. However, almost 98% of the total population is found in just 4 countries: South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Kenya.

Tracking Information

Ol Pejeta currently works to a coverage rate of one rhino patrol team to 3,500 acres within the core conservation area. There is one patrolman per 1,000 acres and every rhino is seen at least once every 3 days. Each rhino is individually identifiable by unique ear notch patterns. Ol Pejeta also operates a number of highly trained armed patrols. These self-sufficient, mobile teams are able to spend extended periods of time in the field. They have been trained to operate day and night and to respond to poaching incidents, not only within Ol Pejeta Conservancy, but in conjunction with local authorities outside of the Conservancy.

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Ecosystem

Ol Pejeta Conservancy, East Africa’s largest Black Rhino Sanctuary, is situated at the foothills of the Aberdares and the magnificent snow-capped Mount Kenya. A mosaic of grass plains, wooded grassland, Acacia woodland and evergreen thicket extend for over 350 square kilometres. Ol Pejeta boasts an astounding variety of animals, including non-indigenous chimpanzees and the Big Five (the endangered black and white rhino, leopard, elephant, buffalo & lion).

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Ol Pejeta Conservancy

Ol Pejeta is the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa, and home to the world’s last three northern white rhinos. It shelters the only Key 1 (over 100 animals) black rhino population in East Africa. Ol Pejeta is the only place in Kenya to see chimpanzees - a sanctuary was established here to rehabilitate animals rescued from the black market. Ol Pejeta also seeks to support the people living around its borders, to ensure wildlife conservation translates to better education, healthcare and infrastructure for the next generation of wildlife guardians.

Every year, nearly 85,000 visitors are welcomed to the Conservancy, and leave with a strong sense of conservation awareness. They are educated on the plight of various endangered species and what it takes to conserve them. In addition, Ol Pejeta’s conservation news reaches over three million people each month across social media and other publications.

Where your money goes

Uncontrolled hunting in the colonial era was historically the major factor in the decline of black rhinos. Today, poaching for the illegal trade in their horns is the major threat. Powdered horn is used in traditional Asian medicine as a supposed cure for a range of illnesses.  The recent surge has been primarily driven by the demand for horn by upper-middle class citizens in Vietnam. As well as its use in medicine, rhino horn is bought and consumed purely as a symbol of wealth.

Your donation to Ol Pejeta will help fund the recovery of rhino populations through the employment of rhino monitoring patrols and caregivers for orphans like Lola.

Try the app

Do you want to play around with Lola yourself? Download Safari Central from the App Store or Google Play!