Seven black rhinos die in Kenya in botched relocation

Seven black rhinos die in Kenya in botched relocation”

A preliminary report said the animals contracted salt poisoning when they tried to adapt to water with saline levels higher than the water to which they were accustomed, Kenyan wildlife minister Najib Balala said.

The three surviving rhinos are being closely monitored by veterinary and park management teams, officials said.

Wildlife officials officials cited "negligence" over the deaths.

Seven black rhinos died after being moved to the East Tsavo Natural Park, the largest in Kenya, the Daily Nation newspaper reported today.

Save the Rhinos estimates there are fewer than 5,500 black rhinos in the world, all of them in Africa, while Kenya's black rhino population stands at 750, according to the Worldwide Fund for Nature.

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. KWS aims to create a national herd of 830 black rhinos by the end of 2021.

The organisation, which has conducted numerous successful moves in the past, has not said how the rhinos died.

Kenya's government said it has invited Peter Gathumbi, a senior veterinary pathologist from the University of Nairobi, to carry out an independent investigation.

"Translocating wild animals of this size is extremely challenging and not without risk, but black rhinos are under enormous threat so efforts to try and better protect them, such as translocation, are crucial for future generations", WWF said in a statement on Friday.

The rhino population has dwindled in part because of targeting by poachers, who want the animals' horns.

According to the Kenya Wildlife Service, nine rhinos were killed in Kenya previous year.

Kenya is home to the remaining 80 percent of these animals' world population.

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