Kenya wildlife officials suspended after rhino deaths

Kenya’s Tourism minister has suspended six wildlife officials following the death of 10 black rhinos that were being translocated from Nairobi to Lake Nakuru National Park located to the west of the capital, and Tsavo East National Park Rhino Sanctuary located to the southeast of the capital.

In a statement released on Thursday, Minister Najib Balala termed the grounds for the suspension of the six Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officials as “unacceptable professional negligence,” adding that disciplinary action would be taken against them as deemed appropriate by the KWS board.

Balala further attributed the deaths of the rhinos as multiple stress syndrome intensified by salt poisoning and complicated by the following conditions: dehydration, starvation, proliferation of opportunistic bacteria in upper respiratory tract (Pasteurella species), gastric ulcers and gastritis.

“The independent inquiry further showed there were areas of clear negligence that occurred post translocation at the release site in Tsavo, especially in the holding BOMA at the sanctuary,” the statement in part.

“These included poor co-ordination and communication among officers that were responsible for pre-translocation studies, including biomass assessments; environmental impact assessments and water quality assessments.”

Another lion was also attacked by lions at the park where they were released, and has been put under supervision by the minister.