Kenya continues to enjoy leadership in wildlife conservation as demonstrated by increased wildlife populations – elephants at over 34,000 individuals and rhinos at more than 1,000 individuals: because of this, it is with a heavy heart that we announce the poaching of three (3) rhinos yester night, May 02, 2018 at the Rhino Sanctuary in Meru National Park, where we lost two black rhinos and a calf.
The incident is a blow to the successes which have recently been seen in the declining poaching curve, engendered by enhanced wildlife law enforcement efforts and Government investment in conservation. These efforts culminated in 85% reduction in rhino poaching and 78% reduction in elephant poaching in 2017(nine rhinos and 69 elephants lost) compared to when poaching was at its zenith in 2012 and 2013.
The successes were further bolstered by intricate security strategies to enhance the wildlife security situation in the country, in addition to collaboration with other security agencies, the Judiciary and other stakeholders within and beyond our borders.
The poaching incident at the Rhino Sanctuary occurred at approximately 6.30pm. Upon hearing gunshots, the security teams based on the ground headed towards the direction of the gunshots, laying ambushes at strategic points until morning. These did not yield results.
A meticulous ground and aerial search was orchestrated at first light, whereupon the carcasses of two adult rhinos and a calf were discovered with their horns missing. There were no signs of the perpetrators of the poaching, but the teams on the ground, both overt and covert, are diligently following up on promising leads.
In light of this, the Tourism Cabinet Secretary, Hon. Najib Balala, EGH, visited KWS headquarters today to evaluate the security system with a view to boosting surveillance on all fronts, more especially poaching and human-wildlife conflicts.