Kenya Wildlife protection agency Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) denied claims that a rhino was killed last Thursday in Lake Nakuru National Park, saying it was the poacher who was gunned down.
The Wildlife protector said anti-poaching operations have been heightened in national parks countrywide amid an apparent increase in organised criminal activities, especially wildlife crime in the last 19 days.
This comes amid reports that four rhinos and three elephants have been killed in poaching incidents in the last month.
“Efforts to track down poaching suspects are under-way in several parts of the country,” KWS said in an official statement.
According to incidence reports from KWS on December 20, 2016 at around 9pm, four poachers intruded into Ruma National Park Southwest of the country where they shot and killed a black rhino and its three-month-old calf.
In response, KWS mounted aerial, foot and vehicle patrols, raided and searched homes of four suspects linked to the incident.
“One notorious suspected poacher was later arrested and booked at Ndhiwa Police Station. He was in possession of a cable snare and a rhino hoof. A crackdown is underway to arrest the other suspects,” the statement said.
On December 22, 2016 at around 9pm, three suspected poachers were intercepted by KWS patrol teams in the Taita Ranches.
Several ambushes were mounted, one suspect was gunned down and two elephant tusks recovered.
“Unfortunately, the suspects had already killed an elephant in the area two weeks earlier. They had gone to collect the tusks, which they had hidden,” the statement read in part.
KWS also said on December 31, 2016 at around 5.15 pm, a burst of fire was reported by patrol teams within Ngulia Sanctuary in Tsavo West National Park.
On responding, KWS team recovered two rhino carcasses (a mother and a calf) located 33 metres apart.
One poacher was gunned down another escaped with serious wound as they engaged KWS officers, whereas two intercepted as they tried to kill rhinos at river Njoro inside Lake Nakuru National Park on January 5, 2017.
“On the same date, one notorious poacher was intercepted and arrested in Tsavo East National Park. He had just killed an elephant at Chakama area near Kulalu Ranch. Two poisoned arrows, one elephant tusk, and a bow were recovered. The suspect was booked at Bamba police station,” the statement said.
The statement released by KWS on Friday further said on January 6, 2017, elders of the Maasai community around Tsavo West National Park surrendered two elephant tusks as a result of sustained pressure and outreach efforts by KWS teams following the poaching of an elephant in the area two weeks ago.
The wave of poaching has been blamed for halting of operations at KWS and demoralizing staff.
Source: The Star