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Kenya has reason to worry over poaching – expert

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“In areas like Dodori in Lamu which used host 10,000 elephants now hosts less than 200 elephants. Tsavo has now 11,076 elephants. In the last three years the number reduced with over 1,600 elephants. The Samburu-Laikipia ecosystem which is the second largest after Tsavo, three years ago had close to 8,700 elephants and last year it had 6,500,” Nyamu explains.

He says apart from poaching, elephants die due to drought and natural causes.

However, looking at the statistics of elephants and rhinos killed in the recent years, Nyamu explains that the major problem is poaching, since Kenya has not had serious drought during those years.

According to Nyamu, the war against poaching will not be won if communities living near parks are not engaged.

He feels that communities have to be educated and informed of the value of preserving animals since they view them as dangerous animals that can hurt them.

“Elephants spend over 70 percent of their time outside protected areas. We need to engage communities explain to them why they move from the parks,” he explains.

Nyamu is suggesting that community-based programmes be established but also with the involvement of leaders to ensure there is political commitment to ending poaching in the country.

“We can solve this poaching problem when all of us are on the same page. We know how many elephants we have, what is the trend and we also know that it is our responsibility, it is not a government thing, it is not a KWS problem,” he advises.

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He is further suggesting that KWS rangers be promoted and recognised for their contribution in saving the country’s wildlife. According to him, most of them are appreciated after they die in the line of duty.

“Let us not reward rangers when they die by calling them heroes, let us reward them when they are alive. It will give them hope. You can imagine you become a hero only when you are dead. KWS may not be able to do that due to insufficient funds. Let’s empower our rangers. They need to go for leave. I met some who had not rested for four months. They can’t go on leave because they have no replacements,” Nyamu says.

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