Questions surround killing of rhino in Nakuru as County demand park management

A 12 year old Male Black Rhino was killed by poachers at Lake Nakuru National Park on July 31,2018 .The poachers made away with two horns. [Photo:Courtesy/KWS]

Two rangers who were on duty on the night a 12-year-old black rhino was killed at the Lake Nakuru National Park have been interdicted.

Catherine Wambani, a senior warden, said there were elaborate security measures at the park and the rhino sanctuary.

There have been questions about how poachers managed to sneak into the park, kill the rhino, and remove its horns without being detected. The Kenya Wildlife Service has said security teams were pursuing the poachers.

KWS has always maintained that each rhino is assigned three rangers round the clock and that their horns have chips.

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Chips embedded

Ms Wambani would not say whether the rhino's horns had chips embedded.

“For the security of other rhinos and ongoing investigations, such information cannot be shared in public,” she said.

The park is also said to have an emergency response team, but it is not clear where it was the night the rhino was shot.

It is not clear how many rhinos are at the park, with sources claiming they are less than 10 and the park management insisting there are 65 animals.

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Between 2014 and 2015, the park lost more than 10 rhinos to poachers. Some of them had their horns stolen.

National government

The county executive for tourism, Peter Ketyenya, said his office had written to the national government to hand the management of the park to the devolved unit.

He said the county was lobbying to manage the park following because of resurgence of poaching. 

Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui, in a statement, noted that protection of rhinos following the recent deaths should be taken seriously.

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“The poaching has happened despite the rhinos being on dedicated 24-hour surveillance by rangers. It is a blow to conservation,” he said.

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