, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 23 – The former chairman of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Board Richard Leakey is on Thursday expected to appear before an MPs’ committee to answer queries on the death of 11 black rhinos that had been translocated to Tsavo East Park National Sanctuary.
Leakey will be appearing before the National Assembly’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee together with former members of the board Nehemiah Rotich and Mark Jenkins.
They are expected to shed light on what might have led to the deaths of the rhinos and who could have been done to prevent it.
Following the deaths of the rhinos, Balala suspended six senior KWS staff pending disciplinary action following their negligence in the incident.
Among those suspended was the service’s Deputy Director in-charge of Biodiversity, Research and Monitoring, Samuel Kasiki, who according to a report tabled by a six-member probe team failed to coordinate research-line departments at the KWS leading to poor decision-making.
Balala noted with regret the inaction of the sanctioned KWS officers who failed to take appropriate action despite a finding in February that two boreholes sank at the holding area where the rhinos were to be relocated in June had high salinity.
According to the report presented to Balala, the two boreholes drilled by Davis and Shirtliff with the funding of World Wide Fund for Nature had salinity levels of 26,200 and 5,600 parts-per million respectively.
A nearby spring had a salinity level of 6,500 parts-per million, the investigation showed.
The drilling company was reported to have advised the park management to undertake continuous pumping so as to monitor the salinity levels in the two boreholes ahead of the relocation of the rhinos – eight from the Nairobi National Park and six from the Nakuru National Park – advice KWS officers managing the translocation overlooked.