Kenya Wildlife Service rangers yesterday shot dead a poacher who had killed a pregnant elephant in Imenti North District, Meru County. The poacher was among three others caught removing tusks from the dead elephant.
According to the area OCPD, Tom Odero Mboya, the officers also shot one other poacher who escaped with gunshot wounds and recovered a G3 rifle, three rounds of ammunition, a hack saw, an axe and two pangas. "The KWS officers acted swiftly and shot one poacher. We urge members of the public who may come across someone seeking medical attention to report to the police", said Odero.
According to the Warden in charge of Meru forest, Joshphat Erupe, KWS rangers patrolling the forest in an operation dubbed 'okoa ndovu' came across a dead elephant which had three poisoned arrows.It's tusks were still intact. "We knew that the poachers would come and pick the tusks and the rangers laid an ambush until 2am when four people came for the tusks. One of them whom we suspect came to show them where the elephant was left. Of the three who remained, two were removing the tusks and the other was keeping vigil", said Erupe.
He said when the rangers asked them to surrender they opened fire. The officers were forced to retaliate, killing one with the other two escaping. "We are appealing to the surrounding communities that once they see a person suspected to be a poacher, they should report to the police or KWS officers. When they see a dead animal they should not consume the meat since the animals are poached with poisoned arrows which are dangerous", he said.
According to Mwenda Gichuru, a honorary warden in Meru, the forest has been extremely destroyed and now the remaining wildlife is being poached. Mwenda says the community should embark on conservation activities because the wildlife will provide income to the counties and the community should team up to expose the poachers among them.