Seven endangered black rhinos die in relocation bid 'disaster'

James Marshall
July 16, 2018

The deaths during the relocation process were confirmed by officials speaking anonymously to AFP, although they said the reason why the animals died was not yet clear.

It is a process that the World Wide Fund, which runs the programme with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), described as "extremely challenging and not without risk" in a statement released to Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper. In Kenya, where about 80 percent of the world's wild black rhinos live, conservationists planned to move the rhinos to the Tsavo sanctuary as part of a long-term effort to save the species from extinction by protecting them from poachers.

Paula Kahumbu, of the charity Wildlife Direct, said:... "Rhino translocations also have major welfare considerations and I dread to think of the suffering that these poor animals endured before they died".

"Rhinos have died, we have to say it openly when it happens, not a week later or a month later", she said. Fourteen of the animals were to be moved in all.

The government called for an independent investigation and said disciplinary action would be taken if findings point to "negligence or unprofessional misconduct" by KWS staff, he said.

Eight critically endangered black rhinos are dead in Kenya following an attempt to move them from the capital to a national
Eight rhinos die in Kenya after relocation | Kenya News

In moving the rhinos to Tsavo East National Park from Nairobi last month, the Kenya Wildlife Service said it hoped to boost the population there.

Transporting wildlife is a strategy used by conservationists to help build up, or even bring back, animal populations.

Rhinos are often moved when their populations outgrow their surroundings. Between 1960 and 1995 numbers dropped by 98 per cent, to fewer than 2,500. The white rhino is a near threatened species. In addition to poaching the animals also face habitat loss.

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.

In May, three black rhinos were killed in Kenya's Meru National Park.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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