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KWS acquires forensic lab equipment to aid prosecution

26 September 2014, 08:16 Joseph Njung’eh

Nyeri - The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has received new forensic laboratory equipment to help in the prosecution of wildlife crimes.

KWS spokesperson, Paul Gathitu said the machines popularly known as Automated Nucleic Acid Machine (DNA Extraction Equipment) has given the agency a milestone in building its capacity in wildlife conservation.

Speaking at Nyeri County Mweiga KWS station, Gathitu said the agency will soon launch the new laboratory.

“We have enhanced collaboration with other security agencies as well as other partners including the judiciary to help in enforcing the new Wildlife Act,” said Gathitu.

He said KWS rangers on Tuesday recovered eight pieces of ivory weighing 43 kilograms at Timau and the case is in Nanyuki law courts.

“There are myths still existing.  For instance, rhino horn can cure cancer is a myth having dismissed by World Health Organization (WHO). Animals are priceless and can not be given monetary value,” stated Gathitu.      

He further announced that on the same day they arrested two men suspected to be poachers at Chaka market, Kieni Sub-county with two pieces of rhino horns weighing 6.45 kilograms.

The two were ferrying the horns on a motorbike that was also confiscated by the rangers.

It was the first case of arrest involving rhino horn, with Gathitu stating that ‘the significance of the case can not be over emphasized’.

Also read: KWS pushes for life imprisonment of poachers

“Preliminary investigations have revealed that the duo is connected to the notorious rhino poaching and trafficking syndicate in this area,” said Gathitu while maintaining that those dealing in poaching are well connected people with intermediaries.

This year, about 26 rhinos have been killed by poachers while last year 59 rhinos were also killed.

Recently, 560 rangers graduated and were dispatched to various conservations across the country to aid in the fight against poaching.

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