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Nairobi loses eight rhinos to Tsavo park

George Kebaso @Morarak

The government has started offloading the Nairobi National Park as its capacity to hold more animals continues to shrink due to external pressure.

Encroachment of the park by both public and private developments has been a major concern to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). The ongoing construction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) and a planned link road to the Inland Container Depot (ICD) has, particularly, caused apprehension among conservationists and the public.

Yesterday, Kenya Wildlife Service with support from Wild Wide Fund for nature Kenya (WWF-K) boarded three of the eight black rhinos — earmarked for translocation from the world’s biggest national park in a capital city — for transportation to the Tsavo East Rhino Sanctuary.

Tomorrow and Friday, the remaining five will be captured for translocation to the newly established sanctuary in Taita Taveta county.

A further six will be moved out of the Lake Nakuru National Park next week in an exercise expected to end on July 7.  This will make 14 the number of black rhinos to be translocated to Tsavo East. 

Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary, Najib Balala confirmed that the city wildlife sanctuary is facing various challenges especially in capacity.

“With more than 100 black rhinos currently at the park, its ability to host 45 rhinos that had been designed for the 117.2 square kilometres facility had been outstripped,” Balala said after receiving two vehicles valued at Sh14 million; three motor bikes and electronic equipment including computers, surveillance cameras and GPS equipment worthy Sh3 million from WWF-K.

The equipment also include night vision cameras and tents for the rangers camps. Balala said the population of black rhinos, listed by conservationists as endangered is rising across the country but especially in the two national parks. Lake Nakuru National Park according to Balala, has 76 black rhinos.

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