KWS decries increased poaching of rhinos and elephants
09 February 2015, 20:53
Nairobi - The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has said that Kenya witnessed the highest level of poaching in 2011, 2012 and 2013 since the poaching crisis of the 1980’s.
KWS acting Director General William Kiprono, Kenya lost 47 elephants and 5 rhinos to poaching in 2007 as compared to 384 and 30 in year 2012, and 302 elephants and 59 rhinos in year 2013 respectively.
“But we are glad that we are seeing some light at the end of the tunnel, thanks to concerted efforts by many stakeholders, including you,” he said.
He said last year, only 164 elephants and 35 rhinos were poached representing about 47 per cent and 40.7 per cent, respectively, representing a significant decrease from previous years.
“While these figures are indicative of the success of our concerted efforts, they still represent damage to our wildlife capital,” he said.
According to Kiprono, poaching has become more organized, sophisticated and international in nature and is occurring across all the game reserves, including in those areas that were hitherto considered safe havens.
“Proliferation of small arms in the region and in the illegal hands of citizens in areas hosting wildlife is a big threat to the security of wildlife as these weapons are used in poaching in addition to committing other crimes,” he said.
He added that poachers are now using poisoned arrows to kill elephants, which is a silent and dangerous method of killing elephants as it is not easy to detect.
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“Furthermore, a total of 50 firearms and 616 rounds of ammunition and 5 tonnes of ivory were recovered during 2014. During the year, a total of 1,430 suspects were arrested and prosecuted for various wildlife law offences,” he said.
“This represents a 7.68 per cent decrease compared to the previous year which had 1,549 arrests. We have successfully prosecuted and secured convictions of up to 51 of the 306 cases handled by our officers within the provisions of the new law,” he added.
According to Kiprono, the highest penalty in 2014 was 9 years imprisonment with an option of a fine of KES 20 million and other cases are still pending before various courts of law across the country.
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