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Seven rhinos die after being moved to new park in Kenya

15 July 2018

Eight black rhinos have died after being moved hundreds of miles to a national park, in a loss described as "a complete disaster".

Wildlife officials officials cited "negligence" over the deaths.

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

Eight endangered black rhinos died after being transported to a new wildlife reserve in Africa.

According to preliminary investigations by KWS veterinary teams, the deaths resulted from salt poisoning after the animals took water high in salinity when they arrived at their new home.

"Moving rhinos is complicated, akin to moving gold bullion, it requires extremely careful planning and security due to the value of these rare animals", she said in a statement.

Save the Rhino estimates there are fewer than 5,500 black rhinos in the world and around 750 of them are thought to be in Kenya.

A black rhino. Seven have died in unclear circumstances at the Tsavo East National Park. Both the travel and adjustment to a new environment make translocation a delicate process.

Rhinos are often moved when their populations outgrow their surroundings.

"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.

In Kenya, where about 80 percent of the world's wild black rhinos live, conservationists planned to move the rhinos to the Tsavo sanctuary as part of a long-term effort to save the species from extinction by protecting them from poachers.

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.

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.

Poaching has risen in recent years across sub-Saharan Africa where armed criminal gangs have killed elephants for tusks and rhinos for horns.

Seven rhinos die after being moved to new park in Kenya