Kenya Wildlife Service rangers and other security agencies are on high alert across the country after an apparent increase in various organized criminal activities, especially wildlife crime, during the just-ended festive season.
Efforts to track down poaching suspects are underway in several parts of the country.
Despite heightened wildlife security deployments, the following poaching incidents were registered during the just ended 2016 festive season.
- On December 20, 2016 at around 9pm, four poachers intruded into Ruma National Park in Homa Bay County where they shot and killed a Black Rhino and its three- month old calf. KWS security personnel responded by mounting intensive aerial, foot and vehicle patrols. They also raided and searched the homes of four suspects linked to the incident. One notorious suspected poacher was later arrested and booked at Ndhiwa Police Station. He was in possession of a cable snare (winch) and a rhino hoof. A crackdown is underway to arrest the other suspects.
- On December 22, 2016 at around 9pm, three suspected poachers were intercepted by KWS patrol teams in the Taita Ranches. Several ambushes were mounted, one suspect was gunned down and two elephant tusks recovered. Unfortunately, the suspects had already killed an elephant in the area two weeks earlier. They had gone to collect the tusks, which they had hidden.
- On December 31, 2016 at around 5.15 pm, a burst of fire was reported by patrol teams within Ngulia Sanctuary in Tsavo West National Park. KWS security teams responded swiftly and with the help of air Recce, two rhino carcasses (A mother and a calf) were located 33 metres apart. An anti-poaching elaborate operation is ongoing.
- On January 5, 2017, two poachers who were out to kill rhinos at River Njoro area inside Lake Nakuru National Park were intercepted and engaged in a shootout with KWS patrol teams at around 1.40am. One poacher was eliminated on the spot, while the other escaped with serious gunshot wounds. KWS security teams are on hot pursuit with the aid of tracker dogs. On the same date, one notorious poacher was intercepted and arrested in Tsavo East National Park. He had just killed an elephant at Chakama area near Kulalu Ranch. Two poisoned arrows, one elephant tusk, and a bow were recovered. The suspect was booked at Bamba police station. A search for the other gang members is ongoing.
On January 6, 2017, elders of the Maasai community around Tsavo West National Park surrendered two elephant tusks. This was as a result of sustained pressure and outreach efforts by KWS teams following the poaching of an elephant in the area two weeks ago.