Seven critically endangered black rhinos die after being relocated in Kenya

Eight critically endangered black rhinos died following an attempt to move them from Kenya's capital Nairobi to a national park hundreds of kilometers away

The Kenya Wildlife Conservation Service (KWS) has opened an investigation into the causes of the deaths.

The relocation of endangered animals, known as translocation, involves putting them to sleep for the journey and then reviving them.

"The high salt levels lead to dehydration that triggers thirst mechanism, resulting in excess water intake of the saline water that further exacerbates the problem", he added.

Something has gone wrong and we want to know what it is, said Paula Kahumbu, director of the Kenyan conservation NGO Wildlife Direct.

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

The rhinos were among 14 KWS began moving last month from the capital Nairobi to Tsavo East.

"Disciplinary action will definitely be taken" if an investigation into the deaths indicates negligence by agency staff, the wildlife ministry said.

Poachers hunt black rhinos for their horns, which are coveted for traditional Chinese medicinal practices and are displayed as status symbols.

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In May, six black rhinos were moved from South Africa to Chad, restoring the species to the country in north-central Africa almost half a century after it was wiped out there.

In an earlier statement by Kenya Wildlife Service during the exercise, by the end of 2017, Kenya had a rhino population of 1,258 having grown from less than 400 rhinos in the 1980s.

There are fewer than 5,500 black rhinos in the world and all of them are located in Africa, according to Save the Rhino estimates.

Eight black rhinos died in a relocation attempt in Kenya meant to protect the species from human interference, officials announced Friday, as reported by the Associated Press.

Sudan and a group of other northern white rhinos were moved back to Africa in 2009 in the hope that the move, in particular grassland at the Ol Peteja Conservancy in eastern Kenya, would give them more favorable breeding conditions.

"Black rhinos are under enormous threat, so efforts to try and better protect them, such as translocation, are crucial for future generations", i said.

The decline was caused by escalating illegal poaching for illegal markets in the Middle East and Asia.


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