The Kenya Wildlife Services yesterday blamed the legalisation of ivory trade in some countries to the increased poaching in the country.
Poachers have have found a lucrative market for elephant and rhino trophies in China. "Elephants and rhino species in Africa are facing under pressure from poachers," KWS director Julius Kipng'etich told a meeting in a Mwatate hotel last week.
His sentiments come at a time when Zimbambwe is seeking permission from the international body regulating ivory trade to auction its stocks to fund conservation of the animals. The move has since been vehemently opposed by wildlife conservationist who say it will add more pressure to wildlife and also jeopardise conservation efforts.
Kipng'etich, who was accompanied by the chairman of the KWS board of directors David Mwiraria, however said KWS is working hard to protect wildlife. Mwiraria said more than nine poachers have since been killed in the ongoing crackdown. "More than 900 suspected poachers have since been arrested in the country this year. We have also lost five rangers in their line of duty," he said. More than ten elephants and one rhino have since been killed by poachers in the Tsavo region this year.