Mombasa,KENYA:Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has suspended the ongoing black Rhino Trans-location exercise that was flagged two weeks ago.
This is following the death of 8 of mammals that had been trans located to the Tsavo East National Park from the Nairobi and Lake Nakuru National Parks.
In a statement to newsrooms on Friday, the CS said that preliminary investigations had showed that the mammals had died from salt poisoning after drinking water with high salinity at the park.
“ The 8 dead rhinos were among the 11 that had been moved to the sanctuary in an initiative to start a new population in line with the national rhino conservation and management strategy .A total of 14 Rhino’s had planned to be trans-located “ The ministry said in a statement.
The CS said the remaining 4 rhino’s were being fed with fresh water and being closely monitored.
The tourism CS Balala has also ordered for external and independent investigations to narrow down what happened.
The ministry had appointed a senior Veterinary Pathologist from University of Nairobi.
The four remaining Rhinos are being closely monitored and provided with fresh water as the ministry awaits post-mortem examination report and further forensic investigations.
The ministry said that it would take action against those found culpable of negligence following the incident.
The World Wildlife foundation which partnered with KWS had earlier said that it was deeply concerned with the deaths.
” We are deeply extremely concerned to hear reports that seven black Rhinos have died at Tsavo East National park after being moved from Nairobi and Lake Nakuru national parks as part of translocation program by KWS .. At the time when three Rhino’s are poached in average a day for their horns, any losses are particularly painful .WWF is in contact with KWS to confirm the full situation and offer our support in launching an urgent independent assessment of what happened” the WWF-Kenya CEO Mohamed Aweer said on Friday.
This is a blow to the wildlife community as they count huge loss just months after the death of Sudan, the last Male Northern White Rhino at the Olpejeta conservancy in Laikipia County
The International Union for Conservation of Nature( IUCN) has listed the black Rhino as critically endangered owing poaching and loss of habitat.
Kenya has a population of slightly over 700 black rhinos.