KENYA Wildlife Service security officers have launched a manhunt for suspected poachers who killed an elephant and removed its tusks at Tsavo West National Park. The elephant was shot with a poisoned arrow before the suspects removed its two tusks and fled.
KWS assistant director in charge of the Tsavo conservation area, Wilson Korir said the incident happened at Mangelete area in the Northern part of Tsavo West National Park. "We have lost one elephant in the latest poaching incident in Tsavo where the poachers removed the two tusks after killing the jumbo," he said.
Korir said they are tracking the suspects and will soon catch up with them. "We have crucial leads on the suspects and we hope to arrest them very soon. We have deployed our rangers on the ground and they are conducting a manhunt for the suspects," he said.
On Thursday, information went round in social media that an old elephant had been killed at Mbulia conservancy and two tusks removed. It was alleged that the tusks weighed 58 and 61 kilogrammes respectively.
However, KWS has denied the information and termed it a rumour. "I have got the information through the social media but we have not received any official information of such an incident," Korir said.
He said another elephant that had been attacked by poachers at Kasighau area has been treated. "The elephant had been attacked by poachers using an arrow but our veterinary team managed to save its life," he said.
He blamed countries in the Middle East for the increasing poaching activities in Africa. "The African elephants are in danger since ivory is being used as a commodity of trade in Eastern countries," he said.
Korir said there is need for the new Wildlife Bill to be passed as soon as possible to save endangered wildlife species. "Lenient penalties meted out to those who commit wildlife crimes are jeopardising the fight against poaching. We hope the new Wildlife Bill that proposes harsh penalties will be fast-tracked," he said.
He said KWS has put in place proper measures to address elephant poaching and called on communities living near wildlife conservancies to work in collaboration with KWS to end wildlife crimes.