8 endangered black rhinos die in Kenya after relocation

Cesar Mills
July 16, 2018

A Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) official who did not want to be named said the seven rhinos which were being moved from Nairobi National Park to Tsavo East National Park died in unclear circumstances but noted that efforts are underway to establish the cause.

A total of 14 rhinos were translocated from the Nairobi and Nakuru National Parks to Tsavo East National Park in a new rhino sanctuary in an exercise which was launched on June 26.

Eight black rhinos have died in Kenya while being transported by the state wildlife service between two national parks, Tourism Minister Najib Balala said on Friday in a statement. KWS aims to create a national herd of 830 black rhinos by the end of 2021.

Kenya successfully moved 149 rhinos, a policy suited to restoring populations in remote places and shielding them from threats, between 2005 and 2017.

Preliminary studies have shown that the rhinos suffered salt poisoning, they were unable to adapt to salt water in their new home.

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"The high salt levels lead to dehydration that triggers thirst mechanism, resulting in excess water intake of the saline water that further exacerbates the problem", he added.

"We invited Prof Peter Gathumbi, a Senior Veterinary Pathologist from University of Nairobi, to Tsavo to carry out independent investigations, where he collected samples on July 12 and would present his report in a week's time", he said.

Conservationists in Africa have been working hard to protect the black rhino from poachers targeting the animal for its horn. Three were shot dead inside a protected sanctuary in northern Kenya in May.

"Sudan, the world's last male northern white rhinoceros, died in Kenya on Monday, leaving his species one step closer to extinction, even as a group of scientists undertake an unprecedented effort to try to keep this animal from vanishing entirely", Peralta wrote.

Other reports by GizPress

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