Usage of Specialized Fence-Gaps in a Black Rhinoceros Conservancy in Kenya
MacDonald, Suzanne E.
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Fencing is increasingly used in wildlife conservation. Keeping wildlife segregated from local communities, while permitting wildlife access to the greater landscape matrix is a complex task. We investigated the effectiveness of specially designed fence-gaps on animal movement at a Kenyan rhinoceros conservancy, using camera-traps over a four-year period. The fence-gap design restricted the movement of black (Diceris bicornis) and white rhinoceroses (Ceratotherium simum simum) but permitted the movement of other species. We documented over 6000 crossing events of over 50 000 individuals which used the fence-gaps to enter or leave the conservancy. We recorded 37 mammal species and two species of bird using the fence-gaps. We conclude that this fence-gap design is effective at restricting rhinoceros movement and at permitting other wildlife movement into and out of the conservancy. We recommend that fenced-in rhinoceros conservancies that desire enhanced connectivity consider this fence-gap design to help re-connect their reserves to the outside landscape matrix while continuing to provide enhanced protection for their rhinoceroses.