The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) welcomes the decision by Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife Najib Balala to suspend the ongoing translocation of black rhinos following the death of eight of them. The rhinos were among the eleven being moved from Nairobi and Nakuru National Parks to the newly-created sanctuary in Tsavo East National Park.
Preliminary reports indicated that the rhinos died of salt-water poisoning.
The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has successfully translocated and immobilized rhinos over the years. Between 2005 and 2017, KWS translocated 149 rhinos with eight deaths. Therefore these recent deaths are worrying and call for thorough investigation to secure these critically endangered animals.
AWF Chief Scientist and Vice President for Species Protection Dr. Philip Muruthi described the deaths as shocking, given Kenya’s track record in conservation of rhinos.
“It is sad this has happened. Rhino translocation is an important tool for conservation and it is important to establish the cause of the deaths to ensure this does not recur. Kenya has had a lot of experience with positive results,” Dr. Muruthi said.
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