8 endangered black rhinos die after relocation in Kenya

14 Julio, 2018, 02:56 | Author: Kelly Blake
  • A rhino in Kenya

Eight critically endangered black rhinos are dead in Kenya following an attempt to move them from the capital to a national park hundreds of kilometers away, the government said Friday, calling the toll "unprecedented" in more than a decade of such transfers.

A black rhino looks on during a rhino translocation exercise in Nairobi National Park in Kenya last month.

In moving a group of 11 rhinos to the newly created Tsavo East National Park from Nairobi last month, the Kenya Wildlife Service said it hoped to boost the population there.

"The remaining rhinos are being closely monitored by veterinary and park management teams", said CS Balala.

Losing the rhinos is "a complete disaster", said prominent Kenyan conservationist Paula Kahumbu of WildlifeDirect.

The relocation of the rhinos involves putting the animals to sleep and then reviving them when they arrive at their new location, according to The Guardian. "We need to know what went wrong so that it never happens again".

"I dread to think of the suffering that these poor animals endured before they died", she wrote.

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In May, six black rhinos were moved from South Africa to Chad, restoring the species to the country in north-central Africa almost half a century after it was wiped out there.

According to KWS figures, nine rhinos were killed in Kenya past year.

The deaths were due to salt poisoning after the animals drank water with a high salinity upon arriving in their new environment, preliminary investigations by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) veterinarians found, according to a statement from Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife Najib Balala.

Kenya had a rhino population of 1,258 in 2017 of which 745 are black rhinos, 510 are southern white rhinos and three were northern white rhinos, having grown from less than 400 rhinos in the 1980s.

"Translocating wild animals of this size is extremely challenging and not without risk", Awer said, "but black rhinos are under enormous threat so efforts to try and better protect them, such as translocations, are crucial for future generations".

"At a time when three rhinos are poached on average a day for their horns, any losses are particularly painful", WWF Kenya CEO Mohamed Awer said in a statement to CNN.

In March, the last male northern white rhino on the planet, an older bull named Sudan, was put down by Kenyan vets after becoming ill.

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