Wildlife conservationists are still coming to terms with the news that eight rhinos died following a translocation from Nairobi and Nakuru National Parks to Tsavo East National Park.
The eight rhinos were among 11 black rhinos that had been moved to the newly-created sanctuary in Tsavo East National Park in an initiative to start a new population in line with the National Rhino Conservation and Management Strategy.
The sanctuary is supported by WWF-Kenya.
It’s still not clear what caused the death of the Rhinos but according to a statement from KWS, the animal’s death was possibly caused by consumption of salty water.
“High salt levels in water at the Rhinos’ new home could have led to dehydration that caused them to drink more, resulting in excess water intake of the saline water that further exacerbates the problem,” he said
It’s also possible that the rhinos could have also died out of the tranquilizers administered for the journey.
The three remaining rhinos are being monitored closely and KWS has launched investigations to ascertain the cause of death.
Conservationists have critiqued the government for being reluctant to release news about the rhino’s deaths on time.
Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has suspended the translocation exercise and also ordered internal and external investigations to determine the exact cause of death, adding that “disciplinary action” would be taken if the probes point to negligence or wrongdoing by Kenyan Wildlife Service officers.
“I have directed KWS to immediately suspend the ongoing translocation exercise following the death of eight of them,” Balala said.
There are only 5,500 black Rhinos remaining in the world and Kenya is home to 750 black Rhinos.