7 rhinos die after botched translocation from Nairobi Park - Nairobi

A rhino in Kenya

Friday July 13 2018 Seven rhinos die after move to a new park in Kenya A rhino in Kenya

In May, three black rhinos were killed in Kenya's Meru National Park.

The relocation of endangered black rhinos has been immediately suspended following the death of eight rhinos at a new sanctuary in southern Kenya, the nation's Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife said Friday.

Balala said the high salt levels in water at the rhinos' new home could have led to dehydration that caused them to drink more, "resulting in excess water intake of the saline water that further exacerbates the problem".

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

The relocation of endangered animals involves putting them to sleep for the journey and then reviving them in a process which carries risks.

Prominent Kenyan conservationist Paula Kahumbu of WildlifeDirect called the loss of the rhinos "a complete disaster".

The eight were among 14 black rhinos, eight from Nairobi National Park and six from Lake Nakuru National Park, which were transported in June in an operation announced by Kenyan Tourism and Wildlife Minister Najib Balala, who has yet to comment on the outcome.

Photographers and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) personnel watch a female black rhino cross a road during a rhino translocation exercise In the Nairobi National Park, Kenya, June 26, 2018.

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

'Something must have gone wrong, and we want to know what it is'.

'Moving rhinos is complicated, akin to moving gold bullion, it requires extremely careful planning and security due to the value of these rare animals, ' Kahumbu added. One nonprofit, African Parks, has shipped several endangered species across the continent, including black rhinos, which it has flown from South Africa to Rwanda and Chad. A Kenya Wildlife official said it was unclear what went wrong.

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

By the end of 2017, Kenya had a population of 745 black rhinos, according to KWS.

The black was on the brink of extinction after a dramatic 98 percent decline in population from 20,000 in 1970 to about 350 in 1983, says WWF.

In another major setback for conservation, the last remaining male northern white rhino on the planet died in March in Kenya, leaving conservationists struggling to save that sub-species using in vitro fertilization.

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