Head of Kenya's Civil Service Francis Kimemia has directed the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to produce a report on the country's poaching problem, Kenya's Daily Nation reported Sunday (January 20th).
Kimemia said he believes that Somali gangs working with former park rangers are responsible for a recent increase in poaching incidents, and instructed the KWS to investigate that link.
Kenya lost 375 elephants and 20 rhinos to poaching last year, compared to 289 elephants and 29 rhinos the year before. About 80% of the elephants were poached on private conservancies, with the rest in national parks and game reserves. Just this month, poachers slaughtered 11 elephants and chopped off their tusks in Tsavo East National Park.
Chairman of the KWS Board of Directors David Mwiraria also suggested that internal corruption was impeding anti-poaching efforts. "Intelligence reports indicate that some dishonest KWS personnel are in cahoots with criminal gangs to undermine the fight against poaching," he said.
Information for the KWS report will be gathered alongside a government investigation into two tonnes of ivory impounded at Mombasa port last week, valued at 87 million shillings ($1 million).