The Star (Nairobi)

16 April 2012

Kenya: KWS, Army, Police Join Effort to Curb Poaching

Kenya Wildlife Service director Julius Kipng'etich has said their law enforcement department is working closely with the Kenya Army and the Kenya Police to curb poaching.

His announcement comes at a time when poaching incidences are on the increase in the country, a trend which has been heavily decried by wildlife conservationists.

Speaking during a pass-out parade of 326 community rangers at the KWS Law Enforcement Academy in Tsavo West National Park on Friday, Kipng'etich blamed poaching on the high possession of illegal firearms by unathorised persons.

He said investigations had revealed that an estimated 300,000 illegal firearms are in the hands of wrong people who are conducting poaching inside and outside protected areas. "The spread of illegal firearms in the country is jeopardising the safety of wildlife in the conservancies all over the country as the wildlife is being exposed to armed poaching," he said.

He said that KWS had stepped up the use of modern technologies to combat crimes against wildlife since the poachers were getting more sophisticated day by day. "KWS has adopted the use of Management Information System to enable standardised routine collection and reporting of wildlife conservation status data.This technology will make it easy to unmask all kinds of lawlessness inside and outside protected areas especially for endangered species like rhinos and elephants," he said.

Kipng'etich said recently, KWS security personnel recovered an M-16 rifle in the Mara Conservancy. "This shows the extent of the danger being faced by the wildlife in the country," he said.

The director said that in the past three weeks, six suspected poachers were gunned down and 25 others were arrested in the country in an ongoing operation to fight poaching.

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