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Police arrest 3 suspected poachers over rhino killing

17 March 2014, 08:19

Nanyuki - Police are holding three suspected poachers in Nanyuki over the killing of rhino in Ol Pejeta, East Africa's largest black rhino sanctuary.

Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Corporate Affairs Manager Paul Udoto confirmed on Sunday that three suspected poachers have been arrested and are being questioned over the killing of a black rhino in Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Laikipia on Saturday.

"The three will be arraigned in court once the investigations have been completed," Udoto said in a statement released in Nairobi.

The government has enhanced round-the-lock security at the national parks with plans to deploy more rangers to beef up wildlife security efforts to curb rising incidents of poaching across the nation.

The deployment of more rangers by the KWS will help in scaling up efforts to salvage the remaining rhinos in Kenya.

The wildlife agency has also enhanced the round-the-clock surveillance at all Kenya's entry exit and entry points while sniffer dogs and their handlers have proved incorruptible and have once again outsmarted the smugglers.

Udoto said the KWS security teams across the country are on high alert following the killing of another rhino in Ngulia Sanctuary in Tsavo West the same day.

"Crucial leads are being pursued after a rhino carcass was found in a thicket with its horn hacked off and carried away," Udoto said.

He said WS Director William Kiprono is in Lake Nakuru National Park meeting rangers to coordinate wildlife protection operations.

"An inter-agency security team that, includes police, has been mobilized to help in responding to the escalating security situation," he said.

Nakuru has been hardest hit by wildlife crime having lost four rhinos since the beginning of the year. Of the four killed rhinos, three had their horns recovered following a swift response by KWS security teams.

"KWS would like to appeal to the public, especially those living near wildlife areas, to report any suspicious people to nearest KWS offices, police or any other government office," Udoto said.

Rhinos have come under incredible pressure due to rising demand for its horns some Asian countries.

Since the beginning of this year, Kenya has lost 14 rhinos, 11 to poaching and three others to natural causes, compared to a total of 59 last year. The country has about 1,040, the world's third largest herd of rhinos.

- Xinhua

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