Former chairman of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) board Richard Leakey has revealed that his board had on several occasions cautioned against the translocation of the rhinos to the new sanctuary in Tsavo, which resulted to the fatal death of 13 engendered black rhino.
According to Leakey, members of the former KWS board were concerned with lack of adequate vegetation and clean drinking water at the World Wide Fund (WWF) supported sanctuary, saying they opposed the move three times for the past three years.
“The board directed that no translocation should occur unless these two matters were adequately addressed to its satisfaction. Management was told a firm ‘NO’,” Leakey said in his statement.
The death of the 10 engendered rhinos last week has elicited a public uproar and a global outrage from Wildlife conservationists as well.
The deaths were attributed to high salt levels in water at the Rhinos’ new home which possibly led to dehydration.
Leakey further revealed that contrary to what CS ministry of tourism Najib Balala asserted in the media, there is no functional board at KWS currently, saying lack of informed decisions is what led to the deaths of the 10 black rhinos at Tsavo East National Park.
The rhinos had been translocated from Nairobi and Nakuru National Parks.
Leakey said the previous board’s term ended on April 17 but a new one is yet to be formed.
“Unfortunately, as of today and this statement, I am unaware of a new board … and if there is one, as Najib Balala implied in his press briefing yesterday, has it met?” he said.
Balala on Thursday suspended six senior officials at KWS over what he termed as “unacceptable professional negligence” that resulted in the deaths of the rhinos.