The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: KWS Raises Red Flag On Jumbo Numbers

The Kenya Wildlife Services has raised alarm over fall in the number of Elephants and grevy Zebra in the larger Laikipia, Samburu, Isiolo and Marsabit complex in the last three years.

KWS director William Kipkoech Kiprono said the number of elephants had reduced from 7,415 in 2008 census to 6,361 in the 2012 census while that of Grevy's zebra had gone down from 2,400 in 2008 to 1,870 in 2012 aerial count.

He was announcing the results of the recent aerial census at Sarova Shaba Lodge in Isiolo. Kiprono attributed the drop in the elephant population to increased poaching because of the increased demand for ivory.

He said drought, climate change and lack of pumps and signs on the Isiolo-Moyale highway were to blame for the deaths of zebras.

The director said illegal poaching has been on increase because of the availability of sophisticated guns especially in parts of Kwale where a number of elephants have been killed in the last few years.

Kiprono said KWS is working on a strategic plan on the setting up of an advanced radio network and structures in collaboration with the local communities in the war against poaching and other wildlife issues.

"I will not accept to supervise as director where animals were killed in masses. I would rather resign and watch from outside," said Kiprono.

He said the protection of wildlife should not be left to KWS alone, but other security agents, community and partners needs to be involved.

The census was done by KWS in collaboration Marwell Wildlife, African Wildlife Foundation, Save the elephant, Northern Range Land Trust, Department of Resource Survey and Remote sensing, African Elephants specialists group, Borana Ranches and Space for Giants.

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