New twist in Rhino deaths saga as former KWS Boss reveals interesting details

Who approved the translocation of the black rhinos?

In a press statement seen by Pulselive.co.ke, Leakey placed Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala in a tight spot questioning the procedure used to translocate the endangered black rhinos to Tsavo East National Park from Nairobi and Nakuru National Parks.

According to the former chairman, the translocation of the rhinos was previously established to be unsafe. He divulged that the move was revoked three times for the three years he served at KWS.

"The Board noted that there was deep concern about the lack of vegetation in the sanctuary that could sustain rhino and also, the real issue of available and safe water.

"The NO  translocation should occur unless these two matters were adequately addressed to the Boards satisfaction. Management was told a firm NO,” he said.

Dr. Leakey went further to blame the Ministry of Tourism for overstepping in its mandate and authorizing the translocation of the rhinos.

"The absence of a Board has left the weighty decision of the kind concerning discipline and direction entirely with the Ministry of Tourism and wildlife.

"This is not provided for in the existing legislation governing KWS and its operations," Leakey said.

The veteran conservationist poked holes on statements made by Mr. Balala alleging that a new Board was formed and approved the translocation of the rhinos.

On Thursday, Balala delivered an investigation report explaining what caused the death of the rhinos. According to the autopsy results, the saline water in the rhinos' new home was what led to their death.

Investigators further mentioned that the animals had been stressed due to acute dehydration.

"The cause of all the deaths was due to multiple stress syndromes intensified by salt poisoning and complicated by the following conditions: dehydration, starvation, proliferation of opportunistic bacteria in the upper respiratory tract, gastric ulcer, and gastritis," Balala said.

The report accused the KWS staff of negligence leading to the suspension of six officials and sacking of acting Director General Julius Kimani from his position, replacing him with  Dr. Charles Musyoki.

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