8 endangered black rhinos die after relocation in Kenya

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Najib Balala, Kenya's cabinet secretary for tourism and wildlife, wrote in a tweet on Friday that he had directed the wildlife workers to immediately suspend the transport of the remaining three rhinos.

In a statement, Kenya's Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, said, "Preliminary investigations by KWS veterinary teams attribute the deaths to salt poisoning as a result of taking water of high salinity on arrival in the new environment".

Workers from the Kenya Wildlife Service were scheduled to relocate 14 black rhinos from Nairobi and Lake Nakuru national parks to a sanctuary meant to aid the conservation effort, the government's statement said.

As reported by AP, animals were killed after they were moved from the capital to a new national Park, hundreds of kilometers away from Nairobi.

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Seven black rhinos have died in unclear circumstances at the Tsavo East National Park.

Balala added the high salt levels could have led to dehydration and led to "excess water intake" that would worsen the rhinos' health.

Kenya successfully moved 149 rhinos, a policy suited to restoring populations in remote places and shielding them from threats, between 2005 and 2017.

"We invited Prof Peter Gathumbi, a Senior Veterinary Pathologist from University of Nairobi, to Tsavo to carry out independent investigations, where he collected samples on July 12 and would present his report in a week's time", he said. The surviving rhinos that were transported are now being given fresh water.

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According to KWS figures, nine rhinos were killed in Kenya a year ago.

In Kenya, home to 80% of the global population of black rhinos.

In May, three more were shot dead inside a specially-protected sanctuary in northern Kenya and their horns removed, while in March the last male northern white rhino on earth, an elderly bull named Sudan, was put down by Kenyan vets after falling ill.

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