The Star (Nairobi)

11 April 2012

Kenya: Poachers Spear Two Elephants to Death

Kenya Wildlife Service rangers in Meru are searching for poachers who killed two elephants in the Lower Imenti Forest by spearing them with poisoned weapons.

The rangers who found one of the elephants at Nkunga Forest after following blood trails have launched an operation to stamp out poachers whom they say have established watching posts on tall trees to monitor their prey.

According to the senior warden Josphat Erupe, they were informed of killings by a chief. Erupe said they had been searching for the animnal since last week after they were informed that there were poachers who had shot an elephant at a watering pan.

"The elephant had a wound which was oozing blood and it was deserted by the rest of the heard when it became so weak to walk. We went to the scene and found the tusks intact," said Erupe.

He said they suspect some of the poachers are robbers who hijack vehicles on the Meru-Nanyuki Highway and they may be armed with a gun.

"We have increased surveillance inside and outside the forest and also collaborating with the neighbouring communities to inform us once they find people killing the animals," he said.

In the first incident, an elephant died before a vet who had been called to treat it arrived and according to Erupe, the poachers did not take away the tusks.

Currently, the forest is inhabited by hundreds of elephants which migrate from the Mount Kenya Forest and the Lewa Downs Conservation in Laikipia for pastures which are plenty in the Lower Imenti Forest.

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