The Star (Nairobi)

24 July 2014

Kenya: Ol Pejeta Raises Red Flag Over Rhino Poaching

A Private conservancy in Laikipia is concerned by increased rhino poaching in the county. Ol Pejeta Conservancy CEO Richard Vigne said the rising cases are due to the "increased demand for rhino horns as a result of the high market price that has surpassed that of gold".

He said last week poachers killed a rhino in the conservancy. The CEO said at about 7pm on Thursday last week, his rhino patrol team reported gunshots near the Buffalo Plain.

A response team was dispatched but the poachers escaped, leaving an eight-year-old black rhino named Malkia with serious injuries. She died a day later. She had given birth to her first calf on June 17.

During the attack, the baby rhino was separated from her mother and led to a pride of lions that killed the calf, Vigne said. "We remain devastated by this loss and we will continue to review and improve every aspect of our security operations to curb poaching that has reached unprecedented highs," he said. A recent study commissioned by Save the Elephants said the price of horn in key markets including China has increased.

According to the Kenya Wildlife Service, 26 rhino and 111 elephants have been lost to poachers this year. Save the Elephants said an average of 33,000 elephants were killed between 2010 and 2012.

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