The Star (Nairobi)

29 June 2011

Kenya: Nine Poachers Arrested in Tsavo

Kenya Wildlife Service rangers in Taveta district have arrested nine suspected poachers and recovered more than 50 kgs of bush meat.

The operation was led by the senior warden in charge of the Southern Sector of Tsavo West National Park, Samuel Rukaria, at Salaita area on the outskirts of Taveta town. Rukaria said the nine men were caught by the rangers after a tip off from the public who had seen them inside the park with powerful spotlights at night.

The suspects are also said to have stolen Kenya Railway line wires. "We have also found the suspects with more than 70 kgs of vandalised wires which they use to make snares for catching game," said Rukaria. Rukaria said the animals targeted by the poachers include giraffes, zebras and dikdiks whose population is endangered by the poaching activities in the area. "In the past one week they have killed four girrafes at the Tsavo West National Park and other smaller game animals," said the warden. He said the poachers were found some kilometers inside the Tsavo park armed with pangas and powerful spotlights.

The warden added that the poachers had gone high-tech in their poaching activities adding that some of them alert their counterparts using phones thus making arrests difficult. "The poachers have now gone high-tech since they alert each other when they see our officers moving towards their direction.Some of them chase the wildlife towards the direction where they have set their snares so that they can be trapped," said Rukaria.

He said the poachers sell the meat to unsuspecting changa'aa drinking men and some local hotels at throw away prices in the out skirts of Taveta town and other adjacent regions. Rukaria cautioned the public against purchasing game meat which was not inspected by the health officers adding that it was harmful to their health. He said that some of the poachers came from the neighboring Tanzania Country where poaching is not illegal.

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