The Kenya Wildlife Service has voiced alarm over the increasing numbers of rhinos killed by poachers.
"There's been a spike in rhino poaching in 2014 compared to previous years," wildlife service spokesman Paul Muya told Anadolu Agency in an interview.
"The number has been increasing," he said. "This shouldn't be allowed to continue."
In 2011, the total number of rhinos killed by poachers stood at 19, rising to 30 the following year. In 2013, the number almost doubled.
So far this year, officials say Kenya has lost 12 rhinos to poachers.
Authorities fear that if the trend continues, Kenya risks losing all its rhinos, the same way the Western Black Rhino went extinct.
"There's a very large market for ivory and rhino horns in foreign countries," Muya lamented. "There's a high demand and high prices."
The Kenya Wildlife Service faces a variety of challenges, especially in the Lake Nakuru National Park, which serves as a rhino sanctuary.
The water level at Lake Nakuru has risen to the highest point in 26 years.
This has reduced the size of the animals' natural habitat and pushed them closer to the park's perimeter – thus bringing them into the range of poachers lurking outside.
After several Rhinos recently fell to poachers, the wildlife service made a number of high-level personnel changes.
"The fact that the rhinos were killed in broad daylight acted as a motivator for the [personnel\ reshuffle," Muya said.
John Kirui, who had supervised parks in Kenya's Central and South Rift, and Adan Kala, senior warden at the Lake Nakuru National Park, were both dismissed from their posts earlier this week.
"Our senior officers were moved specifically because of the poaching issue," Muya said.
Last week, three rhinos were killed in two separate incidents inside the park.
In both cases, poachers chopped off the animals' horns – in broad daylight – before disappearing without a trace.
Surrounded by an electric fence, the Lake Nakuru Park is one of Kenya's most heavily guarded nature preserves, raising questions as to how poachers managed to be so effective.
"Poaching had escalated; we need to inject new minds into the management of the national park," said Muya.
He went on to say that the transfer of 20 park rangers was unrelated to the recent poaching.
"Being a rhino sanctuary, we have rangers who provide security 24/7," he said. "They get fatigued."
"Therefore, we move rangers every couple of years from sanctuary to sanctuary – so the incident didn't come out of the blue," the official added.