The Solio Ranch is a game reserve and privately owned wildlife conservancy. It is located in Kenya. The aim of this ranch is rhino conservation. It is 17500-acre, 22km north of Nyeri Town, and it plays a major role in the protection of Black rhinos in Kenya.
The Solio Game Reserve which is the first private rhino shelter was founded in 1970 by Courtland Parfet. He was approached by the Kenya’s Wildlife and Conservation Management Department. There had been a severe decline in the world population of African black rhinos and so, that influenced his commitment to conservation. Soon the 13,500 acre land was fenced to prevent encroachment or interference from humans. At first there were just zebras, gazelles, buffalos and leopards, but no rhinos.
Soon, the Wildlife and Conservation Management Department, the forerunner of today’s Kenya Wildlife Service, requested that Solio to take in some remnant black rhinos while a permanent home was found for them. In 1970, the first five were moved from Kiboko in south eastern Kenya. The next ten years saw the movement of more rhinos from other places down to the Solio Game Reserve.
By 1980, the numbers had been upped from 10 to 23. By 1992, there were about 96 rhinos. 30 were then removed to form nucleuses in other conservation areas in Kenya. These new reserves included Nakuru National Park, Sweetwaters Game Reserve, Lewa Downs Conservancy and Ol Jogi.
Most of the vegetation of The Solio Game Reserve was made of thick vegetation, bushes and so it was hard to count how many rhinos were living in the area.
By the mid 2000s, a photographic database was created. Keepers of the reserve were taught how to monitor and identify each rhino. Soon, it was decided that the ranch was overstocked and the number of animals needed to be reduced and 45 of the stock were immediately removed.
By 2010, 600 rhinos were moved to the Aberdare National Park. This decision was made due to the drought that seemed prolonged and adversely affected vegetation present in the Solio Game Reserve.
Solio Lodge is located on the ranch providing luxurious accommodation for guests. There are many travel operators offering tours to the Solio Ranch like Solio Ranch itself or Sandai Farmstay & Cottages. The main attraction is the rhino, but other game can also be found on the ranch.