Poachers Kill 5 Elephants in One Week
Five elephants were recently killed in two separate incidents in Isiolo and Tsavo. In the latest incident, Kenya Wildlife Service rangers exchanged fire with suspected poachers on the outskirts of Meru National Park in the expansive Isiolo County.
The suspects had shot dead an elephant and were in the process of hacking off the tusks using axes when the KWS rangers ambushed them. KWS rangers engaged the suspected poachers in a shoot-out in Galana ADC Ranch, and recovered two pieces of ivory buried in the sand.
The suspects were found with five more pieces. Poaching for ivory in Kenya was the worst in 2009 since the ivory ban was first implemented in 1989. A total of 242 elephants were killed illegally last year.
In 1979, there were an estimated 1.3 million African elephants. Today, only 470,000 elephants remain in Africa
according to IUCN’s African Elephant Specialist Group. Meanwhile an international conservation group that monitors
illegal killing of elephants has donated special computers to Kenya.
The computers from the Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) programme are equipped with the Management Information Systems (MIST) to be used in capturing and monitoring data.
MIKE is part of the larger United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and has several regional offices in Africa spanning over 30 countries. Its main objective is to build institutional capacity for long term management of the elephant population and habitat.
Kenya, through KWS, being one of the countries implementing the MIKE programme, is already benefiting from
a number of initiatives which include training of rangers, animal population surveys, conference facilitations and
increased cross-border consultative forums