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11/20/2006

Soldiers shoot dead rare rhino in Kenya

Filed under: global islands,kenya — admin @ 4:01 pm

NAIROBI – British troops in Kenya shot dead a rare white rhino after it charged them while they were on night-time training, officials said on Monday.

“On the night of November 8 a British patrol on a training exercise had a close encounter with a rhino. When it charged towards them they opened fire and sadly it was fatally wounded,” said a spokeswoman at the British High Commission.

An official with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said the four soldiers strayed into a rhino sanctuary on a ranch. The British spokeswoman denied media reports the troops were lost.

She and the KWS official said both their organisations had launched enquiries into the shooting. KWS says there are only 235 white rhinos in Kenya where the British army has carried out training operations for decades.

White rhinos are targeted by poachers for their horns. These fetch high prices in Yemen, where they are made into dagger handles, and in the Far East, where they are coveted for their supposed medicinal qualities.

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