Mombasa, Kenya - Six officers of the Kenya Wildlife Service were suspended for negligence that resulted in the deaths of 10 black rhinos, the tourism and wildlife ministry said Thursday.
Eleven black rhinos had been moved from two Kenyan national parks to a newly established sanctuary for the endangered animals in the country's south in June, Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife Najib Balala told journalists in the capital, Nairobi.
When eight rhinos died by mid-July, the ministry ordered an independent investigation, Balala said.
"The cause of all the deaths was due to multiple stress syndrome, intensified by salt poisoning and complicated by the following conditions: dehydration, starvation, the proliferation of opportunistic bacteria in the upper respiratory tract, gastric ulcers and gastritis," Balala said.
The officers were found to be negligent because they had not completed the necessary water quality, environmental impact and biomass assessments required before relocating rhinos, the investigation found.
About 750 of Africa's remaining 5 500 black rhinos live in Kenya, according to international wildlife organization Save the Rhinos.