Update on the Sera Rhinos

11 rhino in Sera doing well, but three animals have succumbed to complications

28th May, 2015.

We are all shocked and upset by the loss of three of the Sera black rhinos in the past few days. Together, Lewa NRT and KWS did everything we could to ensure the health and safety of the translocated rhino, but complications can and do arise from projects like this, and the nature of these operations means that they are unpredictable. We must remind ourselves that ultimately, the Sera Rhino Sanctuary stands to benefit this endangered species, and the communities looking after them, in the long term.

On Monday 25th May, the post-translocation monitoring team reported the death of two rhinos that had been captured from Lewa and released in Sera Conservancy on the 18th and 19th of May. Post-mortem by the KWS veterinary team revealed the two animals succumbed to complications arising from impaction in the lower gut. The third rhino experienced complications with the anaesthetic during capture, and died despite all efforts to resuscitate it.

The 11 rhino remaining in the Sanctuary are being intensely monitored, 24/7, by a joint team of KWS vets, Lewa and Sera Community Conservancy scouts. The team is also being supported by aircraft. Should any more animals be seen to be in distress then they will be moved straight into holding pens and monitored from there. Additional water points are being established throughout the area to widen access to water, although all other animals are judged to have found initial water points.

A team from the Kenya Wildlife Service – including the head of the KWS Rhino Program and the head capture vet, returned from a 2 day assessment in Sera on Friday 29th May. “The team are very happy with the status, health and condition of the animals; 6 female and 5 male, all of whom had been seen eating and drinking well. They are convinced that this operation and the project generally is and will continue to be a success” said Mike Watson, CEO of Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, after meeting with the KWS team.