KWS rangers arrest 3 suspected poachers
25 April 2014, 20:02
Nyahururu - Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) rangers on Friday arrested three suspected poachers in possession of four pieces of ivory within Nyahururu town.
KWS Game Warden Erick Aduda told journalists that the suspects were arrested with four pieces of ivory weighing 49 kilograms and valued at 35,000 U.S. dollars.
"We laid a trap and that is when we arrested them while transporting the ivory in a saloon car," Aduda said, warning that in future, the KWS rangers would be shooting suspected poachers on sight.
Elephant and rhino deaths due to poaching for their tusks and horns respectively have been on the increase recently, prompting the government to form a special management team to oversee the operations of KWS.
Some 19 rhinos have been lost, with 16 killed by poachers and three due to natural causes. Last year, Kenya lost a total of 59 rhinos.
KWS officials said rampant poaching has seen 30 elephants poached since January compared 302 elephants in the whole of 2013.
Aduda said they believe the three suspects are among suspects behind the rising cases of poaching and ivory trade in the country, especially in northwest Kenya where poaching has been on the increase.
"We believe that the suspects are among a notorious group of people who are behind the killing of elephants and rhinos in this area," Aduda said.
Aduda said it was regrettable elephants were being killed by poachers but noted that a special team has been set up to deal with the menace. He said the Laikipia West region has about 250 adult elephants, and about 75 juveniles.
"We are not going to apprehend any other suspect to the police now and what we will do is to shoot them on the spot. The trend at which they are killing our animals is worrying," Aduda warned.
Kenya has been identified as one of the leading transit routes for smuggling ivory out of Africa, with several incidents of ivory seizures and recovery of wildlife carcasses in recent days.