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Poachers kill white rhino in Nairobi National Park

13 August 2013, 11:37

Nairobi - Poachers killed a white rhino late Monday in Nairobi National Park and made away with its horns, KWS authorities said.

The carcass, which had gunshot wounds, was discovered by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) rangers on routine patrol, KWS Corporate Affairs Manater Paula Udoto said in a statement released in Nairobi.

The killing of the white rhino is the first such poaching incident in the park in the last six years.

This brings the number of rhinos killed across the country since January to 35.

Last year, 29 rhinos were killed by poachers across the country. Udoto said KWS security team is investigating the incident with a view of bringing the culprits to book.

The incident comes a few days after the government formed a special inter-agency crack-unit to combat poaching in the country.

The anti-poaching unit named the Elite Inter-Agency Anti- Poaching Unit comprises of security officers from the KWS, the Administration Police (AP) and the General Service Unit (GSU).

The special unit, which shall be under the command of KWS, will undergo a joint training at the KWS Law Enforcement Academy (LEA) at Manyani before deployment to poaching hotspot areas of Narok, Tsavo and Isiolo in eastern Kenya.

Already, the government has established an Inter-Agency Task Force to advice and coordinates wildlife security management interventions across the country.

A total of 190 elephants have been killed so far this year while KWS has lost two rangers in encounters with poachers.

However, plans are underway to recruit an additional 1,000 KWS rangers to overcome these challenges and effectively tackle poaching.

Meanwhile, a KWS ranger was at the weekend shot and injured by suspected poachers during a gunfight in Lake Nakuru National Park.

Udoto said the injured ranger and his colleagues encountered two poachers in the park.

"He was hit when the shoot-out ensued and was evacuated to a hospital in Nakuru town where he is recuperating. The poachers are believed to have escaped with injuries," he said.

"One .458 rifle, six rounds of ammunition and one spent cartridge were recovered. Other items including meat cutter saw, two cell phones, cleaning rod, pull through, fresh chapatis and Yoghurt, several polythene covers were also recovered," he added.

The poachers are believed to have escaped with injuries.

KWS security team is combing the area with a view to apprehending the poachers. KWS has also adopted a multi-faceted approach to eliminate the poaching vice.

The organization has actively engaged communities living next to wildlife sanctuaries through conservation education on the negative impacts of poaching.

Consumers of illegal wildlife products, both local and international are being sensitized on their indirect contribution to poaching by buying such products. KWS also urged the Judiciary to mete out deterrent sentences to smugglers of wildlife products.

- Xinhua



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