A lorry carrying one of the Rhinos

Mystery surrounds the death of 7 black rhinos which had been translocated last week from Nakuru National Park to Tsavo East National Park – with focus turning on the drugs used to immobilise the animals.

At the moment, vets from Kenya Wildlife Service in collaboration with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) are conducting investigations to understand why 7 of the 14 black rhinos died after they arrived in Tsavo.

KWS officials confirmed the deaths to a local station.

“This is a great misfortune and investigations are underway to ascertain the death of the rhinos,” said the KWS official.

The translocation had been launched by Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary, Najib Balala at the ivory burning site inside Nairobi National Park where he also received equipment donated by WWF to support KWS rhino monitoring team .The equipment consist of 2 vehicles, 3 motorbikes, cameras, computers, binoculars, and tents among others.

The launch was witnessed by WWF Chief Executive Officer Mohamed Awer, KWS Chairman, Board of Trustees, Dr. John Waithaka and KWS acting Director General Mr. Julius Kimani.

A total of 14 rhinos were translocated from the Nairobi National Park and Nakuru National to Tsavo East National Park in a new rhino sanctuary – in the expansive park.

The death of the 7 rhinos is a blow to the conservation efforts since Kenya had 745 Black rhinos, 510 southern white rhinos and 2 Northern white rhinos by the end of last year. The only surviving northern White rhino Male died in March 2018.

Before the rhinos died, Dr. Waithaka had said that KWS planned to launch the 6th edition of the Black Rhino Conservation Strategy and Action Plan (2017-2021) this month. The overall goal of the Strategy and Action Plan is to achieve a meta-population (national herd) of 830 black rhinos by the end of 2021.

Mr Balala had also described the translocation as a “key milestone in the conservation of black rhinos.”

Balala added that through the partnership with WWF-Kenya and other partners, KWS has been able to spearhead Rhino conservation efforts in the country.

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