Balala summoned over the death of 11 rhinos

First action taken after death of 11 rhinos

National Assembly Environment and Natural Resources Committee directed Mr. Balala to appear before it to explain the tragic death that has since attracted both national and international attention.

"We are seeing conflicting [reports] from the former board led by Mr Richard Leakey, management of Kenya Wildlife Service and from the CS himself.

"But Kenyans want to know what happened and put this matter to rest and know who is responsible," the committee’s chairman Kareke Mbiuki said.

The summon comes a few days after former Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) chairman Richard Leakey blamed CS Balala for the tragedy noting that there was an order revoking the translocation of the black rhinos.

According to Dr. Leakey, a renowned conservationist, the recommendation to move the rhinos from Nairobi and National Parks was dismissed thrice for the three-year period 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 in a statement.

Leakey’s remarks saw a hashtag dubbed #BalalaWajibika gain momentum with a section of Kenyans on Twitter demanding the resignation of the minister.

Last week 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, the 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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