Gov’t: Death of Rhinos matter of national concern

The Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife has dismissed claims that the death of ten rhinos was as a result of lack of a functional board at the Kenya Wildlife Service.

The Ministry however admits that the former board’s conditions were not fulfilled prior to the translocation of the rhinos.

Former KWS board chairman Richard Leakey had blamed the deaths of the rhinos on lack of institutional frameworks at KWS.

Leakey pointed an accusing finger at Najib Balala over the death of the ten rhinos over alleged salt poisoning at the Tsavo National Park, the ministry has moved to state its position over the matter.

The Ministry admits that necessary conditions were not fulfilled prior to the translocation exercise, due to gross professional negligence on the part of some officers at KWS.

It however refutes claims by the Union of Veterinary Practitioners of Kenya that it has not been proactive in the aftermath of the deaths.

The ministry says the gravity of the deaths is a matter of national concern which the Union needs to give the seriousness it deserves.

In his statement on Friday, Leakey said that during his tenure at KWS the board averted a similar tragedy three times over environmental conditions that were unfavorable for the rhinos.

Six officers of KWS were suspended following the deaths of 10 rhinos after they were translocated from Nairobi National Park two weeks ago.

Najib Balala announced the decision while releasing the report of an independent inquiry, which concluded the Rhinos, died of multiple stress syndrome intensified by salt poisoning.

The eleventh rhino was reportedly attacked by lions.

14 rhinos were initially supposed to be moved, but was halted following the deaths.

The tragic translocation continues to raise questions from members of the public, on a species that has over the years been decimated mostly by poaching for its horns that fetch fortunes in the illegal trade.


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