Eight Endangered Black Rhinos Have Died in a Sanctuary

17 Juillet, 2018, 05:38 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Kenya's bid to save endangered black rhinos backfires after eight die in a new location

Conservationists in Africa have been working hard to protect the black rhino from poachers targeting the animal for its horn. However, the salt levels in the water in Tsavo East were too high for the rhinos to tolerate, Kenyan officials said, and drinking the salty water likely caused dehydration, which then drove the rhinos to drink even more.

Due to decades of poaching for rhino horn, the African mammal has declined almost 98 percent since 1960, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The care of rhinos, both white and black, is a priority for the Kenyan authorities because of the dramatic decline in the population, which in 1980 dropped to just 400 individuals.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, the number of black rhinos fell dramatically in the 20th century, mostly as a result of European hunters and settlers. Following the unsuccessful relocation, however, that figure has shrunk significantly.

"This translocation can only be described as a complete disaster", Kahumbu wrote on her Facebook page.

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"It's surprising because Kenya Wildlife Service has conducted many successful large scale translocation of rhinos before". The black rhinos were moved from Nairobi and Lake Nakuru national parks to Tsavo East last month in an operation trumpeted by Tourism Minister Najib Balala. "It requires extremely careful planning and security due to the value of these rare animals".

"Generally, rhinos are the most intensively monitored animals not only in the country but also globally, from private conservancies to the rhino sanctuaries and national parks in the country, they remain iconic and symbolic animals", said Samuel Mutisya, the Ol Pejeta Conservancy head of wildlife. "We need to know what went wrong so that it never happens again", she added. Government officials say an investigation is underway and that "disciplinary action will definitely be taken, if the findings point towards negligence or unprofessional misconduct on the part of any [Kenya Wildlife Service] officers".

This latest blow to Africa's rhino population arrives shortly after the March death of Sudan, the last surviving male northern white rhino.

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