The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Urgent Action Needed to Curb Poaching

The Kenya Wildlife Services has raised the 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.

The elephant population had reduced from 7,415 in the 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.

The drop in the elephant population is attributed to increased poaching, fuelled by increased demand for ivory. Illegal poaching has also gone up due to easy access to sophisticated arms in the recent years

The zebra population has also been hit by drought, climate change and lack of bumps and road signs on the Isiolo-Moyale highway where several zebras have been killed by speeding vehicles.

The above statistics are alarming and urgent action is needed to curb the rising incidents of poaching. KWS and organizations involved in conservation need an immediate as well as a long term strategic plan to fight poaching, dealing with the supply and demand side of the illegal trade.

Members of the communities living around wildlife must also take up their conservation role as KWS cannot be everywhere to protect every animal. Laws also need to be amended to provide stiffer penalties for poachers and their markets.

Quote of the day: "I hereby accuse the North American empire of being the biggest menace to our planet." -- Hugo Chavez was re-elected President of Venezuela on December 3, 2006

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