Mystery shrouds fate of translocated rhinos
3 months ago, 13 July 00:51
The health status of Caroline, an eight-year-old black rhino, that was sedated with a dart from a helicopter on June 26, blindfolded with a turquoise-coloured cloth ready for the seven-hour trip to her new home, remains unknown.
Caroline was among 14 rhinos that secured a new home in Tsavo East rhino sanctuary.
Eight were from the Nairobi National Park while six were from Lake Nakuru National Park.
A source told the Star yesterday, on condition of anonymity that seven of the rhinos have died.
However, KWS acting director general Julius Kimani told the Star on the phone he does not have such information.
“Get it from me, there is nothing like that,” he said
The relocation was to start in 2016 but drought prevented movement to the parched Tsavo. Thanks to the rain, however, there’s now plenty of food for Caroline and her friends.
Tourism and Wildlife CS Najib Balala launched the translocation at the ivory burning site inside Nairobi National Park.
Director of public communications at Ministry of Tourism Mulei Muia said he was not aware of the deaths.
Translocating rhinos involves a lot of work. First, rangers on foot identify the “candidate”.
Then veterinary officers armed with tranquilizer darts take aim from a helicopter.
Once the animal is sedated, the team comes close. Vital parameters are monitored to ensure the rhino stays alive.
The horn is then drilled and fitted with a microchip to monitor its movement in the sanctuary.
Another chip and a transmitter with the details of the animal is fitted elsewhere on the body.
Then a cage is lowered from a lorry and placed in front of the animal. By this time, the animal is waking up.
As the sedation wears off, the groggy rhino moves quickly into the cage, which is fastened.Then loaded by crane onto a truck.
Today there are 800 black rhinos and 500 white rhinos,CS Balala said.
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