The eight rhinos have been amongst 11 that have been moved from the Nairobi and Nakuru nationwide parks to Tsavo East Nationwide Park, in a course of often known as translocation, and designed to spice up depleting rhino inhabitants within the nation.
“This type of mortality price is unprecedented,” Mulie Muia, director of communications Kenya Tourism Ministry, mentioned including that postmortem examination and forensic investigations into the incident has begun.
Kenya’s WildlifeDirect has known as the rhino’s loss of life “a significant conservation tragedy” calling on the federal government to be clear and undertake the most effective practices when relocating animals.
“It is a catastrophe, we have by no means had that many rhinos killed in such an operation, that is practically 80% of them killed on this operation.
“We have now misplaced one p.c of our rhinos in lower than every week, that is like many years of conservation effort gone,” Paula Kahumbu, Chief Govt Officer, WildLifeDirect instructed CNN.
A preliminary investigation into the incident confirmed that they died of salt poisoning of their new surroundings, based on Muia.
It’s thought shifting rhinos from a freshwater surroundings into a brand new one with saltwater is a part of the challenges of relocating the animals.
“Shifting rhinos is difficult, akin to shifting gold bullion, it requires extraordinarily cautious planning and safety because of the worth of those uncommon animals,” conservationist Kahumbu of WildlifeDirect mentioned in a press release.
“Rhino translocations even have main welfare issues, and I dread to consider the struggling that these poor animals endured earlier than they died.”
She added: “We’re all very anxious for the remaining three — that they might not survive both if eight have died and if it was the salt water then the remaining three are very a lot in danger.”
Kenya’s tourism minister, Najib Balala has now suspended the translocation of rhinos within the nation.
“Disciplinary motion will certainly be taken if the findings level in direction of negligence or unprofessional misconduct on the a part of any KWS officers,” mentioned Muia.
“We’ll make the investigation outcomes public as quickly as we obtain them,” he added.
Kenya transported 149 rhinos between 2005 and 2017 with eight deaths, the wildlife ministry mentioned.
The critically endangered species have been hit onerous by poachers who provide their horns to Asia the place they’re used for medicinal functions.
The western black rhino was declared extinct seven years in the past on account of poaching.