NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 21 – Five suspected poachers were gunned down at dawn on Saturday by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) rangers in Chepareria, West Pokot County.
KWS said a fierce exchange between their wardens and the poachers left two rangers injured in the 1am incident that lasted for about 40 minutes.
“One was treated and discharged in Kitale while the other ranger was flown to Nairobi on Saturday morning for further treatment,” Corporate Communications Manager Paul Udoto said.
Elephant tusks weighing 50kg were recovered as well as three AK47 rifles and 15 rounds of ammunition.
Udoto said police were in a hot pursuit for one suspect who managed to escape.
“KWS is committed more than ever before to end all poaching and illegal possession of illegal wildlife products,” he said.
Poaching in Kenya has been a major concern as the country continues to loose its distinct and rich natural resource which is a major source of revenue for the country.
Wild animals are a major magnet feature for tourism in Kenya and with poaching the country looses in a big way especially on elephants and rhinos which poachers kill to get their tusks that cost a fortune.
Despite stringent laws on illegal poaching, Kenya has been grappling with the challenge for many years. Just last July, President Mwai Kibaki led the country in burning of five tones of elephant tusks seized in Singapore in 2002 and brought to Kenya by the Lusaka Agreement Taskforce.
The Lusaka Agreement Taskforce which is charged with helping African law enforcement agencies tackle wildlife smuggling have in the past raised concerns that illegal ivory trade remained a major challenge for the taskforce. The problem cuts across Africa.
Officials concerned with poaching have also in the past indicated of the serious challenge of dealing with poaching since laws have not stopped the illegal act on animals in Africa.