A white rhino has been killed by poachers in Nairobi National Park.
A spokesperson for Kenyan Wildlife Services has confirmed that a rhino has been shot dead by poachers, the first such killing in over six years.
The rhino was killed for its horn, which is highly prized in South East Asia where it is believed to contain healing properties by homeopathic medical practioners, despite little scientific evidence supporting this theory.
Nairobi National Park, 7km outside the capital, has been described as one of the most secure wildlife reserves in Kenya.
There are two subspecies of African rhino: the northern white rhino, classed as ‘critically endangered’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the southern white rhino, such as those found in Nairobi, which is classed in the less critical ‘near threatened’ category.
Southern white rhino have previously been hailed as one of the “world’s great conservation success stories” by the World Wildlife Fund. Once on the brink of extinction, with less than 50 animals left in the wild, the subspecies has seen a significant revival after years of protection and many translocations, with numbers growing to 20,160 animals in the wild by 2010.
Earlier this week Kenya announced the formation of a new anti-poaching initiative, the Elite Inter-Agency Anti- Poaching Unit. 35 rhinos have already been killed in Kenya in 2013, up from 29 in 2012. 190 elephants have also been killed.
Illegal poaching is thought to be increasing across Africa, with the amount of seized ivory said to be at its highest level in 16 years.