KWS bosses told to resign as last relocated rhino dies


A female black Rhino stands in a box before being transported during rhino translocation exercise ...
A female black Rhino stands in a box before being transported during rhino translocation exercise In the Nairobi National Park, Kenya, June 26, 2018. Photo/REUTERS

In Summary

  • Balala also announced that Dr. Charles Musyoki, a senior scientist, will be the new head of KWS.
  • KWS has been criticized over the translocation of the black rhinos, a move that led to their deaths.
  •   The government’s veterinary pathologist also alluded to mistreatment of the animals during the translocation.

Tourism CS Najib Balala has ordered that four senior Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officials resign.

This comes even as reports indicate that the last rhino that was relocated to Tsavo East National Park has died.

Also: Alarm after seven rhinos die at Tsavo National Park

The KWS officials on the spot include Francis Gakuya (head of veterinary and capture services), Samuel Kasiki (KWS assistant deputy general), Dr. Mohammed Omar (head of Ecological Monitoring) and Fredrick Lala (Tsavo National Park head scientist).

“Officials will take responsibility for what transpired and they will also step aside,” Balala told journalists in Nairobi on Thursday.

The CS also called for the resignation of other members in the KWS hierarchy saying the ministry intends to ensure that a similar incident does not happen again.

Balala further announced that Dr. Charles Musyoki, a senior scientist, will be the new head of KWS as the ministry reviews the organisation’s management structure.

KWS has been criticized over the translocation of 11 black rhinos from Nairobi and Nakuru National Parks to Tsavo East National Park that led to their deaths.

Tourism CS Najib Balala conceded that KWS was lax during the move.

“There was poor communication and coordination by Kenya Wildlife Service officers during the translocation of the rhinos,” he said.

The government’s veterinary pathologist Peter Gathumbi also alluded to mistreatment of the animals.

“The remains showed clear signs of starvation. The stomachs were distened with a lot of water showing evidence of inflammation,” the pathologist said at the Press briefing.

“The total salinity level in the stomach content was also very high; there was no chemical poison detected in the stomach content as such we concluded that the animals were dehydrated and emanciated.”

The black rhinos were transferred to Tsavo National Park in an effort to curb poaching of the already endangered species.

According to Earth Watch, there are only about 540 rhinos left in Kenya as a result of extensive poaching,

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Story By Mbuthia Bashir
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