Eight rhinos die in Kenya after relocation

Kendi a 1-year-old eastern black rhinoceros and his mother are seen at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. Conservationists are working hard to protect the species which has been threatened by poaching and habitat decline

The park's veterinary and management teams are closely monitoring the three surviving rhinos, which have been given fresh water.

Ms Kahumbu said the translocation could only be described as a complete disaster and sought reassurances that best practices in wildlife translocation would be adopted in future to prevent more deaths.

According to a statement from Kenya's Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, the rhinos were moved, or translocated, as part of a conservation initiative created to start a new population line. There are roughly 5,000 black rhinos left in Africa, with 745 of them in Kenya.

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

The government statement said the salty water most likely led to dehydration in the rhinos, which then prompted them to drink more water, exacerbating the problem.

Between 2005 and 2017 a total of 149 rhinos have been moved in this way, with eight deaths, a mortality figure that has now doubled. 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.

The number of African black rhinos dropped almost 98 percent from 1960 to 1995 before conservation efforts began to slowly rebuild the population.

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Moreover, the last three of the 14 rhinos on the relocation list will no longer be moved to the park, the ministry noted.

Kahumbu agrees: "Moving rhinos is complicated and risky. We need to know what went wrong so that it never happens again". The service began translocating rhinos to the park in June in an effort to establish a new black rhino population within the sanctuary.

Although the number of the rhinos had increased in the past two years because of the concerted effort between the government and conservation partners including communities and private landowners. But he said he had ordered internal and external investigations to determine the exact cause of death, adding that "disciplinary action" would be taken if the probes point to negligence or wrongdoing by Kenyan Wildlife Service officers.

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Another organisation, Save The Rhino, in a statement termed the death of the eight rhinos as tragic, saying this should inspire more conservation efforts.

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