Published: Mon, July 16, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Critically Endangered Black Rhinos Die in Kenya

Critically Endangered Black Rhinos Die in Kenya

Nine rhinos were killed in Kenya past year, according to KWS, and in March, the world's last surviving male northern white rhino died after months of poor health.

Kenya's Tourism and Wildlife Minister Najib Balala ordered the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to "immediately suspend the ongoing translocation of black rhinos following the death of eight of them", according to a ministry statement.

Officials said 14 rhinos were being moved from Nairobi and Lake Nakuru national parks to Tsavo East last month in an effort to boost the population there.

Dean said there were once thousands of black rhinos in Kenya but now their population is in the hundreds.

Black rhinos are considered critically endangered but its population has rebounded, although the species remains threatened due to poaching and habitat loss.

"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", Balala said.

In a statement, the conservation group Wildlife Direct said, "This is shocking and disheartening".

She said officials must take responsibility and explain what went wrong, and quickly.

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"We're extremely concerned to hear reports that seven black rhinos have died in Tsavo East National Park after being moved from Nairobi and Nakuru national parks as part of a translocation programme", he said.

A black rhino. Seven have died in unclear circumstances at the Tsavo East National Park.

There are fewer than 5,500 black rhinos in the world and all of them are located in Africa, according to Save the Rhino estimates.

Kenya's government said it has invited Peter Gathumbi, a senior veterinary pathologist from the University of Nairobi, to carry out an independent investigation.

He added that they have also sought input from Dr Markus Hoffmeyer, a Wildlife Conservationist, Rhino Veterinarian and translocation expert from South Africa.

Rhino horns are used in traditional Chinese medicine and for dagger handles in Yemen.

In May, three more were shot dead inside a specially-protected sanctuary in northern Kenya and their horns removed, while in March the last male northern white rhino on earth, an elderly bull named Sudan, was put down by Kenyan vets after falling ill.

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