Service plans to step
up anti-poaching measures
statistics indicate that in 2012, Kenya lost
384 elephants and 19 rhinos to trophy poachers
to 289 elephants and 29 rhinos in the previous
REPORT BY XINHUA CORRESPONDENT
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
on Wednesday vowed to step up anti-poaching measures after
experiencing a loss of 19 elephants since the beginning of 2012.
Wildlife Service (KWS) Director William Kiprono told journalists in
that the price of ivory and rhino horns continues to rise and this
is fueling the illegal trade.
order to respond to these challenges, KWS has developed strategies
aimed at enhancing elephant and rhino security to protect them
from armed gangs while at the same time dismantling international
criminal syndicates,” Kiprono told a news conference in
anti poaching efforts have borne significant achievements in the
course of last year. We arrested and took to court 1,949 suspects.
They were charged with various wildlife-related offenses. “
KWS announcement comes in the wake of Tuesday’s seizure of 638
pieces of ivory worth 1.16 million U.S. dollars at the
which were destined for
while disguised as ornamental stones.
are engaging the diplomatic corps of the major destination markets
in order to combat the trade,” he said. He said that KWS will
not win the war alone and it has therefore enlisted the help of
other security agencies both locally and abroad.
noted that one suspect has been arrested in connection with last
week’s slaughter of 12 elephants in southwest
is assisting us with leads that will help assemble evidence
required to bring the culprits to book,” he said.
to Kiprono, KWS efforts have also resulted in notable recoveries of
illegal wildlife trophies and firearms, including 80 rifles, 2,777
rounds of ammunition and several magazines which have been recovered
since January last year.
also impounded 46 vehicles, 38 motorbikes, 46 bicycles and a hand
drawn cart in various parts of the country. In addition, 1, 677
pieces of ivory weighing 4,644 kilograms were also been
recovered,” Kiprono said.
the same year, the KWS chief said seven rhino horns weighing 14
kilograms were also recovered. Other assorted crude weapons in
possession of poachers recovered include poisoned arrows, bows,
snares, axes, machetes, knives, spears, power saws and hand saws.
lauded government efforts to enact new legislation that will
classify wildlife poaching as an economic crime with stiffer
penalties for offenders.
director added that in order to apprehend and dismantle poaching
syndicates, the security and community engagements budget has
increased by ten percent compared to the previous financial year.
to sustained pressure to combat poaching within the KWS managed
parks, there has been a crime displacement to areas outside the
park,” he said.
Kiprono said, that 78 percent of all elephant poaching cases in 2012
occurred in the wildlife dispersal areas outside the parks. The
director also reiterated
’s commitment to saving the last great species on earth for the
sake of maintain biodiversity.
noted that this duty comes against the backdrop of challenges
including climate change, proliferation of illegal arms, a volatile
tourism industry as well as rapid human population growth which has
led to encroachment of natural habitats.
to the government, the decision by the Convention of International
Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITIES) to
allow southern African countries in 2007 the one-off sale of ivory
continues to haunt wildlife conservation efforts.
director said that during the CITIES meeting slated for March,
will seek to ensure that no proposals to trade in elephant ivory can
be submitted before the end of the current moratorium which
concludes in 2017.
Spokesman Paul Mbugua said that
, which has 1,010 rhinos, is home to the largest population of the
animal in east and central
and is therefore a main target for poachers.
statistics indicate that in 2012,
lost 384 elephants and 19 rhinos to trophy poachers compared to 289
elephants and 29 rhinos in the previous year.
noted that livestock incursion into some wildlife protected areas is
still high despite efforts to drive them out. He said that
remains an important transit point for ivory destined for
international markets because it is one of the major transport hubs
to the wildlife agency,
lost four rangers in 2012 as poachers are now using sophisticated
equipments and are prepared to go to any length to continue with
their illegal trade.
who is also the Assistant Director of KWS said that speculation of
the lifting of the ivory ban is also fueling poaching.
spokesman added that
is currently carrying out cross border initiatives with both
in relation to wildlife management of joint ecosystems. “The
biannual meetings provide the framework for joint patrols in order
to curb poaching, “ he said.
East African nation remains an important link on trade routes to
international destinations for illicit consignments of wildlife
products and particularly ivory.
is concerned with the use of her entry/exit points for trafficking
of wildlife products. “In ivory trafficking, both Kenyan citizens
and foreigners are involved and the destination of the ivory and
rhino horns is mainly outside the country,” he said.
KWS boss said several consignments of ivory have also been
intercepted in other parts of the world with reports linking some of
the seizures to have originated from
to establish the origin of the impounded ivory are usually
conducted. Some of the ivory has been found to have originated
from southern and central African elephant range states, “ he
said KWS shall continue to work with other law enforcement agencies,
especially Customs, the police, INTERPOL, Lusaka Agreement Task
Force, Kenya Airports Authority and Kenya Ports Authority, among
others in ensuring that local and international laws on wildlife
crimes are enforced.
said the country’s ivory stockpile under KWS custody is secure
and proper management system and accounting procedures are in
place and each trophy can easily be traced and accounted for.
dismissed the allegations and suspicion that the government
stockpiles may have been the source of some of these contraband
ivory as unfounded, noting that relevant agencies have conducted
audits into the safety of the stockpile. KWS is still open for any
further audits and verification, if necessary.
said the safety of local and international tourists within all
protected areas and other areas under KWS jurisdiction was ensured
through enhanced visitor security patrols/operations.
in close liaison with the Tourist Police Unit, maintained security
in wildlife-protected areas as well as on the important access
roads linking the different protected areas,” he noted.