Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui now wants President Uhuru Kenyatta to personally intervene and ensure those behind the death of 10 rhinos during a recent botched translocation are punished in order to restore confidence in the wildlife sector.
Governor Kinyanjui said the deaths of the rhinos is a cause of a major concern to his administration, environmentalists and conservationists in the region and should not be taken casually.
"We are disturbed by the casual manner in which the care of our endangered rhinos is being handled. Critical questions should not be met [with] rude answers from the persons entrusted with the responsibility of protecting our wildlife heritage. I appeal to President Uhuru Kenyatta to crack the whip on those found responsible [for] the deaths," said Governor Kinyanjui.
The rhinos which had been moved to Tsavo National Park from Nakuru and Nairobi parks in July later died.
They were part of a herd of 11 recently moved due to overcrowding in the Nairobi and Nakuru parks, hindering breeding.
The newly established, 100-square-kilometre Tsavo East Rhino Sanctuary in Kenya’s oldest and largest national park was expected to be more conducive for breeding.
Governor Kinyanjui spoke as National Assembly Committee on Environment and Natural Resources is probing the deaths of the rhinos.
On Tuesday, another 12-year-old male black rhino was killed at the Lake Nakuru National Park by suspected poachers, raising more concerns on the fate of the endangered animals.
Security agencies are pursing the poachers.
On Wednesday, Governor Kinyanjui said his administration is ready to work with conservationists and relevant institutions to ensure the safety of endangered animals within Nakuru County.
According to the governor, Lake Nakuru National Park has lost seven rhinos in two weeks, which he said this is a blow to tourism and the country's image regarding the protection of endangered species.
Lake Nakuru National Park was declared a rhino sanctuary in the 1980s and has been used as a breeding haven and currently has a population of more than 70 black and white rhinos.
"This deaths happened despite the rhinos being on dedicated 24-hour surveillance by rangers," noted the governor.
A source yesterday told the Nation that that preliminary reports indicated that a G3 riffle was used to shoot the animal in Lake Nakuru Park incident before the poachers made away with its horns.
Interestingly, KWS officers are stationed less than two kilometres away from where the rhino was killed, raising questions on whether some officers could have colluded with the criminals.