Logistics goes wrong as endangered black rhinos die in transport
Eight endangered black rhinos in a Kenyan reserve have died while being transported to a new habitat, according to the BBC.
According to officials involved in the operation, the rhinos died after drinking water with a high concentrations of salt.
The animals were among a group of 14 that were being moved from Nairobi National Park to the country's biggest national park, Tsavo East.
The other six rhinos were delivered safely.
It’s unclear how the water became contaminated. But, according to Kenya Wildlife Service vets, the more the animals drank, the thirstier they became, which quickly lead to salt poisoning.
Estimates suggest there are fewer than 5,500 black rhinos in the world, all of them in Africa and some 750 in Kenya.
Conservationists have demanded an investigation into the deaths of the animals.
“Something must have gone wrong, and we want to know what it is,” said Kenyan conservationist Paula Kahumbu.
The relocation of endangered animals involves sedating them for the journey and reviving them on arrival. The process is known as translocation and is “extremely challenging” according to the WWF conservation agency, which runs the programme with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).
"Black rhinos are under enormous threat, so efforts to try and better protect them, such as translocation, are crucial for future generations," the group said in a statement.
Rhinos are often moved when their populations outgrow their surroundings. In the case of critically endangered black rhinos, the moves can establish new breeding habitats to boost numbers.
Nine rhinos were killed in Kenya last year, according to KWS, and in March, the world's last surviving male northern white rhino died after months of poor health.