Kenya’s Wildlife Services (KWS) are under a magnifying glass this week after a tenth black rhino has died amid attempts to relocate a handful of the animals to a new wildlife reserve.
Image Credit: Pixabay
Only one of eleven black rhinos survived the transfer attempt, but local authorities note that the sole survivor is in critical condition after being mauled by a lion.
The circumstances are somewhat alarming, especially considering how the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recognizes the black rhino as a critically-endangered animal species.
Given how few black rhinos exist in the wild today, these needless deaths are inadvertently driving the species even closer to a bleak future that may encompass extinction.
Citing a report by the Associated Press, the ten black rhinos likely died because of stress during transportation to the new wildlife reserve. Exacerbating the issue was the higher salt content in the drinking water available there, which the animals were unable to tolerate.
The death toll is being called “unprecedented” given just how many black rhinos died in such a short time. Wildlife transfers of this caliber aren’t uncommon, and only eight of 149 rhinos died during previous transfers that transpired from 2005 to 2017.
Numerous officials with Kenya Wildlife Services are now facing disciplinary action in the light of the negligent black rhino handling, and experts are now questioning why the circumstances weren’t identified sooner.
There are estimated to be fewer than 5,000 black rhinos in the wild as of 2010. This number is higher than estimates proposed decades earlier, but conservationists are continuously trying to increase this number to save the species from extinction.