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12 Black Rhinos Dead in Kenyan Sanctuary Disasters
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.
- 1,000+ Rhinos Poached in South Africa for Fourth Straight Year ›
- Shocking Photo of Dehorned Black Rhino Wins Top Award ›
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As a growing number of states move to pass laws that would criminalize pipeline protests and hit demonstrators with years in prison, an audio recording obtained by The Intercept showed a representative of a powerful oil and gas lobbying group bragging about the industry's success in crafting anti-protest legislation behind closed doors.
Speaking during a conference in Washington, DC in June, Derrick Morgan, senior vice president for federal and regulatory affairs at the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), touted "model legislation" that states across the nation have passed in recent months.
AFPM represents a number of major fossil fuel giants, including Chevron, Koch Industries and ExxonMobil.
"We've seen a lot of success at the state level, particularly starting with Oklahoma in 2017," said Morgan, citing Dakota Access Pipeline protests as the motivation behind the aggressive lobbying effort. "We're up to nine states that have passed laws that are substantially close to the model policy that you have in your packet."
Big Oil is now using its political power to try and criminalize protests of oil & gas infrastructure.— Friends of the Earth (@foe_us) August 19, 2019
"This legislation has potential to punish public participation and mischaracterize advocacy protected by the First Amendment."https://t.co/bmiHjONEhy
The audio recording comes just months after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law legislation that would punish anti-pipeline demonstrators with up to 10 years in prison, a move environmentalists condemned as a flagrant attack on free expression.
"Big Oil is hijacking our legislative system," Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network said after the Texas Senate passed the bill in May.
As The Intercept's Lee Fang reported Monday, the model legislation Morgan cited in his remarks "has been introduced in various forms in 22 states and passed in ... Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota."
"The AFPM lobbyist also boasted that the template legislation has enjoyed bipartisan support," according to Fang. "In Louisiana, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the version of the bill there, which is being challenged by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Even in Illinois, Morgan noted, 'We almost got that across the finish line in a very Democratic-dominated legislature.' The bill did not pass as it got pushed aside over time constraints at the end of the legislative session."
Many of the state bills restricting the right to protest have been "drafted by companies and passed through groups like ALEC, the secretive group of corporate lobbyists trying to rewrite state laws to benefit corporations over people." @greenpeaceusa https://t.co/ZxpTjWdrwT— Stand Up To ALEC (@StandUpToALEC) May 6, 2019
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.