Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

12 Black Rhinos Dead in Kenyan Sanctuary Disasters

Animals
12 Black Rhinos Dead in Kenyan Sanctuary Disasters
A captured black rhino peeps from a cage during a relocation exercise from Lake Nakuru National Park. AFP / Getty Images

Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) reported Tuesday that poachers killed a 12-year-old male black rhino in Lake Nakuru National Park. The death follows a series of disasters surrounding the critically endangered animals in Kenya's national parks.


Ten out of 11 black rhinos have died in recent weeks following a botched relocation attempt from Nairobi and Nakuru National Parks to Tsavo East National Park.

The only rhino to survive the translocation was subsequently attacked by lions, tourism minister Najib Balala said Thursday. Earlier reports said the rhino was recovering after the attack but it appears to have died as well.

In a statement released Monday, the Kenya Tourism Federation expressed "deep concerns and sadness in regards to the unprecedented tragic death of 11 Rhinos in the recent translocation exercise." The International Rhino Foundation confirmed Tuesday that the 11th rhino died after the lion attack as well.

The latest slaughter means 12 black rhinos have recently died in Kenyan sanctuaries.

Catherine Wambani, senior park warden at the Lake Nakuru National Park, said the rhino was killed Monday night and found dead with its horns missing, Kenya's Citizen Digital reported.

Pursuit for the poachers is underway, KWS said.

"Our teams on the ground spent the night pursuing the #poachers and are continuing with the #operation," the authorities tweeted.

Tourism minister Balala set up an independent inquiry team to investigate the circumstances of the deaths.

"According to the Inquiry team, the cause of all the deaths was due to multiple stress syndrome intensified by salt poisoning and complicated by the following conditions: dehydration, starvation, proliferation of opportunistic bacteria in upper respiratory tract (Pasteurella species), gastric ulcers and gastritis," Balala said in a July 26 statement.

The statement continued: "The independent inquiry further showed there were areas of clear negligence that occurred post-translocation at the release site in Tsavo, especially in the holding BOMA at the sanctuary. These included poor co-ordination and communication among officers that were responsible for pre-translocation studies, including biomass assessments; environmental impact assessments and water quality assessments. The results of the water assessments were hardly considered before execution of the operation."

The tourism ministry is facing intense public criticism over the rhino deaths. Balala suspended six KWS officers following the inquiry team report's and is facing calls for his own resignation.

Black rhinos are under threat from poaching, habitat loss and political conflict. There are roughly 5,000 left on the planet. Kenya is home to about 750 of the remaining individuals.

A plume of smoke from wildfires burning in the Angeles National Forest is seen from downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

California is bracing for rare January wildfires this week amid damaging Santa Ana winds coupled with unusually hot and dry winter weather.

High winds, gusting up to 80- to 90 miles per hour in some parts of the state, are expected to last through Wednesday evening. Nearly the entire state has been in a drought for months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which, alongside summerlike temperatures, has left vegetation dry and flammable.

Utilities Southern California Edison and PG&E, which serves the central and northern portions of the state, warned it may preemptively shut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers to reduce the risk of electrical fires sparked by trees and branches falling on live power lines. The rare January fire conditions come on the heels of the worst wildfire season ever recorded in California, as climate change exacerbates the factors causing fires to be more frequent and severe.

California is also experiencing the most severe surge of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with hospitals and ICUs over capacity and a stay-at-home order in place. Wildfire smoke can increase the risk of adverse health effects due to COVID, and evacuations forcing people to crowd into shelters could further spread the virus.

As reported by AccuWeather:

In the atmosphere, air flows from high to low pressure. The setup into Wednesday is like having two giant atmospheric fans working as a team with one pulling and the other pushing the air in the same direction.
Normally, mountains to the north and east of Los Angeles would protect the downtown which sits in a basin. However, with the assistance of the offshore storm, there will be areas of gusty winds even in the L.A. Basin. The winds may get strong enough in parts of the basin to break tree limbs and lead to sporadic power outages and sparks that could ignite fires.
"Typically, Santa Ana winds stay out of downtown Los Angeles and the L.A. Basin, but this time, conditions may set up just right to bring 30- to 40-mph wind gusts even in those typically calm condition areas," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll.

For a deeper dive:

AP, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Weather Channel, AccuWeather, New York Times, Slideshow: New York Times; Climate Signals Background: Wildfires, 2020 Western wildfire season

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A new study invites parents of cancer patients to answer questions about their environment. FatCamera / Getty Images

By Jennifer Sass, Nsedu Obot Witherspoon, Dr. Philip J. Landrigan and Simon Strong

"Prevention is the cure for child/teen cancer." This is the welcoming statement on a website called 'TheReasonsWhy.Us', where families affected by childhood cancers can sign up for a landmark new study into the potential environmental causes.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Madagascar has been experiencing ongoing droughts and food insecurity since 2016. arturbo / Getty Images

Nearly 1.6 million people in the southern part of Madagascar have faced food insecurity since 2016, experiencing one drought after another, the United Nations World Food Program reported.

Read More Show Less
Lakota spiritual leader Chief Arvol Looking Horse attends a demonstration against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico in front of the White House in Washington, DC, on January 28, 2015. Nicholas Kamm / AFP / Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden is planning to cancel the controversial Keystone XL pipeline on the first day of his administration, a document reported by CBC on Sunday suggests.

Read More Show Less
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst stand at the Orion spacecraft during a visit at the training unit of the Columbus space laboratory at the European Astronaut training centre of the European Space Agency ESA in Cologne, Germany on May 18, 2016. Ina Fassbender / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

By Monir Ghaedi

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep most of Europe on pause, the EU aims for a breakthrough in its space program. The continent is seeking more than just a self-sufficient space industry competitive with China and the U.S.; the industry must also fit into the European Green Deal.

Read More Show Less