, NAIROBI Kenya, Aug 29 – The Kenya Wildlife Service says two elephants were killed on Monday at Emaka Ranch in the Tsavo East National Park.
KWS Spokesperson Paul Muya said no arrest has been made so far but officers from a new crack unit have been deployed to track down the poachers.
“We learned this in shock that we have lost two of our elephants, this will stop! Our officers are on ground and are doing everything possible to ensure this does not recur anywhere else in our country,” he said.
Muya has expressed optimism that those responsible are going to be arrested and charged in court. “We are going to make arrests. No one involved will escape the long hand of the law.”
This incident happened as the country takes a new drive against poachers who have decimated Kenya’s elephants in recent days.
This brings to 24 the number of elephants killed in the larger Tsavo in the last two months. The surge in elephant poaching has been exacerbated by ivory demand from China and other Asian countries.
During his recent visit to China, President Uhuru Kenyatta reaped hefty packages, including support to combat wildlife poaching in Kenya.
In an interview at the end of his visit on Friday, President Kenyatta said China acknowledged that poaching was a problem and committed to work with Kenya in solving it.
“The Chinese Government understands that poaching is a problem. The most important thing is that they are not just talking about it but working to solve it,” he said.
He said the Chinese Government offered to improve surveillance around national parks and game reserves. The President added that China will also help with capacity building to enable the Kenya Wildlife Service deal with poachers effectively.
In 2012, the country lost 384 elephants and 29 rhinos to poaching. So far in 2013, at least 190 elephants and 34 rhinos have been butchered.
In an earlier interview with Capital FM News, Muya said resources to manage approximately eight percent of the total landmass of Kenya that consists of 22 national parks, 29 national reserves and four national sanctuaries including six marine national reserves and four marine national parks is their main challenge.
“There are also 125 field stations scattered across the country for management of wildlife outside the protected area system,” he noted.
“This expansive sphere of operations has overstretched the capability of the current wildlife protection staff currently standing at 2,800 uniformed officers.”