, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 25 – The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has slammed Non-Governmental Organisation for ‘misleading’ the world that there is crisis on elephant and rhino poaching in the country.
KWS acting Director General William Kiprono told a news conference in Nairobi that despite what seemed to be an upsurge in poaching of the two endangered species, the figures are not alarming as portrayed by local and international NGOs.
“It is not a crisis but a challenge. The issue of crisis is not there because the government is on top of things. The figures given are conflicting and only KWS has the right figures because we used the best scientific method to count the animals,” he asserted.
He explained that poaching was a challenge that the country has to deal with due to international demand for ivory.
“We are alive to the fact that wildlife, particularly rhinos and elephants are increasingly becoming vulnerable because of high demand for their horns and ivory respectively,” he added.
Kiprono together with other senior managers of KWS faulted NGOs which they blamed for coming up with exaggerated figures showing that poaching of rhinos and elephants was a serious crisis in Kenya.
While some of the NGOs claim that elephants and rhinos in Kenya are headed for extinction, KWS insisted that they are in control of the situation to salvage the elephant and rhino species which they however admitted that they were endangered due to the global challenge of poaching.
Whereas KWS estimates show that there are 38,000 elephants and 1,041 rhinos in the country, WildlifeDirect said there were not more than 600 rhinos left in the country.
Kiprono said that this year alone 51 elephants and 11 rhinos had been killed with increase in rhino poaching compared to elephants.
KWS however appealed for donations to help the agency get equipment to fight poaching as they are now using drone surveillance to deal with the menace.
According to KWS, Kenya lost 59 rhinos and 302 elephants in 2013 compared to 2012 in which 384 elephants and 30 rhinos were killed for their horn.
Kiprono told the media that 249 suspects had been prosecuted for wildlife offenses but unfortunately most of them were released with minor fines.
Despite the enactment of the law that imposed heavier fines on wildlife crimes, poaching of elephants and rhinos has not stopped.