Another fierce gun battle between Kenyan park rangers and ivory poachers resulted in the death of one poacher, and the capture of two others, all of which are believed to have been members of a poaching gang which has terrorised Tsavo National Park, killing a vast number of elephants.
The poacher, who has not yet been named, was shot dead on Saturday night, following a drawn out and bloody gun battle at the park in Taita-Taveta County. News of frequent elephant killings have cause national concerns over how poachers infiltrate protected parks and sanctuaries to escalate. A Swahili language newspaper is calling this poaching attack one of the bloodiest in the country in recent years, as poachers managed to kill 12 elephants before they were discovered.
20 elephants have been killed in the area in the last month alone, with rangers’ no nonsense approach doing little to deter poachers. Worse still, poachers were reported to have killed four rangers in their quest for ivory.
Officials blame a lack of funding and staff shortages for their inability to quell the increasing incidents of poaching in the park. Other organisations blame the insurgence of foreign poachers and the rapidly growing demand for ivory from China and other Asian countries.
During this attack however, authorities received a tip off from locals living nearby, which led to the successful capture of two poachers. “Five other armed gang members, however, escaped but KWS is looking for them,” assured Tsavo National Park Assistant Director Wilson Korir.
Rangers recovered rifles, bullets, a hacksaw and other poaching equipment from those who fled the fray.
Mr Korir stated that, in light of events, the park was developing extreme surveillance measures to bring down the gang, which has killed countless elephants, rhinos, as well as rangers in Tsavo National Park.
“We have introduced sniffer dogs to supplement the war against poaching activities in the region. We are also sensitising communities bordering parks to give authorities relevant information,” Mr Korir stated.
Sources: Standard Digital