Tag Archives: Kenya Wildlfe Service

Kenya: The War On Poaching Is On – KWS

By Joseph Muraya, Capital FM

17 August 2013
Nairobi — The recently unveiled inter-agency anti-poaching unit comprising officers from specialised elements of the Kenya Wildlife Service, Administration Police and the General Service Unit will strengthen the fight against poaching.

KWS spokesperson Paul Muya told Capital FM News that setting up the agency demonstrates the government’s commitment in ensuring that wildlife is safe.

He said that KWS was working with other conservation stakeholders to ensure that the war is won.

He revealed: “In 2012, the country lost 384 elephants and 29 rhinos to poaching. So far in 2013 we have lost 190 elephants and 34 rhinos. We are disturbed by rhino poaching which has reached a crisis situation given that we have only 1,025 rhinos in the country.”

“The escalating poaching crisis has become both a national security issue as well as an economic one. Urgent and decisive actions need to be taken to reverse this trend,” he noted.

Muya said with KWS managing approximately 8 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, it needs more resources.

“There are also 125 field stations scattered across the country for management of wildlife outside the protected area system,” he added.

“This expansive sphere of operations has overstretched the capability of the current wildlife protection staff currently standing at 2,800 uniformed officers.”

He noted that the number of active rangers has declined significantly due to natural attrition and retirement among other causes.

Muya says that the government has however made commitment during this financial year to support the recruitment and deployment of at least 1,000 new rangers, in phases, to boost KWS capacity to execute their mandate effectively.

The inter-agency Task Force that includes 121 officers will be advising and coordinating wildlife security management.

“They will first undergo a joint training at KWS Law Enforcement Academy (LEA) in Manyani before deployment at three designated hotspot field stations in Narok, Tsavo and Isiolo,” he said.

“The elite rapid response units shall provide support to KWS officers, already deployed in these areas and elsewhere, on need to basis.”

He also revealed that KWS shall continue to work with other law enforcement agencies, especially the National Intelligence Service, Customs, the police, Interpol, Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF), Immigration Department and Kenya Airports Authority, among others, in ensuring that local and international laws on wildlife crimes are enforced.

“The government is keen on the speedy enactment of the Wildlife Conservation and Management Bill, 2013, which proposes stiffer and deterrent penalties.”

The proposed Bill has since been published and tabled for enactment by the National Assembly.

There is also wildlife forensic and genetics laboratory being constructed at KWS headquarters set to be inaugurated later this year to support wildlife crime prosecution.

In efforts to curb poaching, Muya says six Rangers lost their lives in 2012 and two rangers have been lost this year in a recent attack in Lamu County.

Kenya Set to Launch Anti-Poaching Unit to Save Wildlife

Xinhua

August 5, 2013
The Kenyan government has formed an inter-agency elite unit to fight rampant poaching across the East African nation, officials confirmed on Monday.

Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) spokesman Paul Mbugua said the 120- member anti-poaching squad consisting personnel drawn from various government agencies will be unveiled by the Environment, Water and Natural Resources Cabinet secretary Professor Judi Wakhungu on Thursday.

“The government has formed an inter-agency elite crack unit to fight poaching. The unit will be launched possiblyon Thursday to help boost fight against poaching in frontline  areas which have been affected by poaching such as Tsavo,” Mbugua told Xinhua by telephone on Monday.

The move comes after the anti-poaching campaign “Hands off our Elephants” emphasizing conserving elephant for posterity carried out by government and conservationists.

According to statistics from the KWS, elephant poaching has grown consistently over the last three years during which 829 elephants were killed. Last year, Kenya lost 384 elephants to poachers compared to 278 in 2011 and 177 in 2010. The rest is estimated to be eliminated in the next 10 years unless stronger counter-poaching measures are taken.

Conservationists say rising demand for ivory and rhino horn in Asia is the main reason causing the poaching crisis across Africa, as the continent has witnessed loss of over 1,000 rhinos in the last 18 months.

Kenya has been identified as one of the leading transit routes for smuggling ivory out of Africa. KWS estimates that more than eight tones of raw and worked ivory have been seized since 2009.

The East African nation has also lost 21 rhinos and 117 elephants to poachers since the beginning of 2013. Out of these elephants, the spokesman said, 37 were killed in protected areas while 80 were outside protected areas.

Mbugua believed “The anti-poaching crack unit will be a big plus for KWS since it will help boost our fight against poachers.”

Wakhungu launches drive to save elephants

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Wakhungu launches drive to save elephants

Wakhungu launches drive to save elephants

Posted by: The People in National July 25, 2013

By OWINO SAMWEL

The Government has launched a campaign dubbed ‘Hands off Our Elephants’ to eradicate poaching in the country. Cabinet Secretary for Environment,Water and Natural Resources Judy Wakhungu said Government has designed plans to stop the menace which she termed as an economic crime. “We are determined to stop this evil that has affected our wildlife for a long time,” she said.

She said her ministry in collaboration with the Kenya Wildlife Service is determined to preserve the country’s heritage. The plans include use of sniffer dogs and scanners at Mombasa port and Jomo Kenyatta Airport to identify hidden ivory. She said the new Wildlife Bill which recommends stiffer penalties for poachers will be presented to parliament.

“The Bill proposes harsh punishment for poachers, which if adopted by parliament, will reduce poaching,”she said. Statistics show 270 elephants were killed in 2011, 384 in 2012 and this trend has to stop so as to attract more tourists, she said. “Kenya has to redeem its international image by fighting poaching and we are ready to regain our lost glory.”

The campaign also includes Kenya Airways and Wildlife Direct companies that have expressed the need to save wildlife. Kenya Airways chief Executive Officer Titus Naikuni said they will support the initiative until the crime is checked. “Kenya Airways will not condone poaching and any staff found invloved in ivory smuggling will face the consequences,” Naikuni warned.

Speaking at the same event,WildlifeDirect CEO Paula Kahumbu said ivory trafficking in Kenya doubles every six months but expressed optimism the campaign will stop the trend. Kenya Wildlife Service Director William Kiprono cited inadequate personnel as a major hindrance to fighting poaching but revealed they have received Sh2 million from the Government to buy equipment.

Kenya,Uganda and Tanzania are main sources of ivory while Philippine,Vietnam and Malaysia are main transit areas. China and Thailand have been identified as major ivory consumers. As the campaign is launched, former US defence attaché in Nairobi has been convicted of smuggling ivory, hours after President Obama pledged to stop wild- life trafficking. David McNevin was arrested with 21 pieces of ornately carved elephant tusks as he boarded a flight to the Netherlands, from Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International airport.

This article’s link is: http://www.thepeople.co.ke/11964/wakhungu-launches-drive-to-save-elephants/