Rangers step up hunt for elephant poachers

PHOTO | TONY KARUMBA | FILE Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) and International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) experts handle a sedated elephant on March 20, 2012 in the Tsavo-east National park during the second phase of a collaring exercise in the wake of a dramatic increase in elephant killings for their prized tusks.

What you need to know:

  • KWS has employed aerial and ground surveillance in search for suspects

Kenya Wildlife Service rangers have intensified the search for poachers who killed 12 elephants in a game park over the weekend.

The rangers are carrying out both aerial and ground surveillance to hunt for the poachers and recover tusks stolen from the elephants at the Tsavo East National Park.

“The carcasses of the 12 elephants had bullet marks, which is an indication that the poachers were armed. The incident is a setback to the tourism sector since it is one of the biggest killings seen in the country,” KWS spokesperson Paul Mbugua said.

He went on: “We suspect the hunters had other intentions of hunting the animals since they even killed young elephants without tusks.

“We have gathered enough information on the suspects and we hope to arrested them soon.”

The incident, Mr Mbugua said, was a sign of resurgence of the demand for ivory.

Reports indicate that two firearms stolen from two rangers after they were killed at a private ranch in Sagalla by poachers in March last year have been used several times in the hunt for tusks.

Poaching in Tsavo East and West national parks has increased with reports that more than 40 elephants have been killed in the area in the last nine months.

Some KWS rangers have been accused of colluding with poachers.

In July last year, two rangers with alleged connections with a group of elephant poachers were arrested in Tsavo National Park.


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