William Kiprono, the new director for the Kenya Wildlife Service issued a statement Wednesday on the state of affairs of Kenya's wildlife in 2012, and projections for 2013.
He outlined strategies that KWS has developed to enhance elephant and rhino security, specifically launching the 5th edition of the Rhino Conservation Strategic Plan 2012-2016.
Among the numbers presented, Kiprono said that 384 elephants and 29 rhinos were lost to poaching in 2012.
And let us not forget six Kenya Wildlife Service rangers who lost their lives in the line of duty.
On this 18th day of the new year, poaching numbers are already at an abhorrent level. If this is indicative of what 2013 will bring, then Director Kiprono most certainly will face some steep challenges.
Just this morning, a poacher was shot and killed by KWS rangers on patrol at Umbi in northern Tsavo East. The poacher was one of three who opened fire on the rangers.
The day before the Kiprono's address, Kenyan authorities at the Port of Mombasa seized a record two ton shipment of ivory that was concealed in a container among slabs of Mazeras stone headed for Asia.
An official stated that the 638 ivory pieces found most likely originated from other countries. That translates into 319 elephants butchered assuming those were complete tusks.
According to KWS, Kenya is an important link on the trade route to international destinations involving illegal wildlife trafficking. And most certainly this latest seizure illustrates that vividly.
In conclusion, Director Kiprono assured Kenyans and the global community that despite the challenges KWS faces in the war against poaching, they are up to the task of protecting Kenya's wildlife. He also stated that Kenya's national parks and reserves are safe for visitors.
The report in its entirety can be read on www.kws.org
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