17 July 2013

Kenya: Poachers Resort to Poisoned Arrows in Tsavo

Poachers are enlisting local residents to assist in killing elephants using poisoned arrows in Tsavo Conservation Area, Kenya's Daily Nation reported Tuesday (July 16th).

"So far we have lost four elephants and our veterinary officers treat between four and five daily," said Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) assistant director at Tsavo Conservation Area Robert O'Brien. "It has become very difficult for us to trace the killers, as the poachers who used to pose as herders are now hiring villagers to kill the animals with poison arrows."

Poachers adopted this new tactic after the police collected illegal firearms in Taita-Taveta area after the deaths of 12 elephants in January. The poachers shoot the animals and wait for them to die before removing the tusks.

O'Brien said four suspected poachers have been arrested with the help of the public and are awaiting appearances in court.

According to the KWS, 137 elephants and 24 rhinos have been killed in the first six months of 2013, with roughly half of them in Tsavo.

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