Poachers slaughtered a family of 11 elephants and chopped off their tusks in the Bisadi area of Tsavo East National Park on Saturday (January 5th), The Kenyan Wildlife Service (KWS) announced.
Hong Kong seized more than a tonne of ivory worth about $1.4 million on January 3rd in a shipment from Kenya, the city's third big seizure in less than three months.
All the elephant carcasses had bullet wounds, including a two-month-old baby, KWS said.
"Our initial investigations show that the poachers numbered at least 10 and were armed with an assortment of guns," Patrick Omondi, head of the KWS elephant programme, told AFP on Tuesday, adding that rangers are pursuing the poachers.
"We have not lost as many elephants in a single incident since the early 1980s," Omondi said. "This is a clear signal that things are getting worse."
In 2012, Kenya lost approximately 360 elephants to poaching, up from 289 the previous year, KWS said. At least 40 poachers were killed last year in clashes with park rangers.
Trade in ivory has been mostly banned since 1989 under international agreement, but much of Africa's ivory still makes its way to Asian markets. Last week, officials in Hong Kong seized more than a tonne of ivory worth about 120 billion shillings ($1.4 million) in a shipment from Kenya, AFP reported.