NAIROBI (Reuters) – Kenyan authorities have arrested a suspected poacher linked to the killing of a 12-year-old black rhino last month in Lake Nakuru national park, the national wildlife service said on Wednesday.
The suspect was booked at a local police station and was being interrogated, the Kenya Wildlife Service said on its Twitter feed. His name was not given.
The announcement came amid criticism over the earlier deaths of 11 of the endangered animals in a bungled relocation. Ten of the 11 died after the relocation. The only one to survive then died after being attacked by lions.
An independent inquiry found the animals had succumbed to stress and poisoning from drinking salty water.
Rhino populations have been depleted in recent years across sub-Saharan Africa, where armed criminal gangs have killed elephants for tusks and rhinos for horns. Often the animal parts are shipped to Asia for use in ornaments and medicines.
The world’s last male northern white rhino died in Kenya in March, leaving only two females of its subspecies alive.
Kenya had 20,000 rhinos in the 1970s, falling to 400 in the 1990s. In 2017, the number had risen back to 1,258 – 745 of them black rhinos and 510 southern white rhinos, according to the wildlife service.
(Reporting by Humphrey Malalo, editing by Maggie Fick, Larry King)