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Poaching in Kenya during Covid-19 outbreak

Starving and no tourism put wildlife at risk

11-05-2020 by redazione

The Coronavirus emergency, partial lockdowns in counties and night curfews in Kenya do not curb the criminal activity of poachers who hunt elephants and illegally trade ivory.
Due to less control in the parks and reserves, which are currently closed to tourists, as well as all the lodges and camps, the smugglers are in action and find their "merchandise" even near populated areas, which makes their dirty work easier.
Last Saturday a collaboration between police and rangers from Kenya Wildlife Service led to the arrest of three people in Lakipia County.
The three were trying to sell nine pieces of elephant tusks for a total of 50 kilos.
David Mwara, Peter Nderitu and Tarcisio Mukere were tracked and followed by KWS who alerted Laikipia police detectives. They found the potential buyers and got on a matatu, travelling thanks to the complicity of the driver.
At the end of the trip, the meeting took place for the sale of ivory, for an estimated value of about 30 thousand euros.
But in the shoes of the buyers were the middle-class policemen who arrested the three and the driver of the matatu, as confirmed by the Commander of the Police of Laikipia Central, Isaac Ogembo.
"We have the three, including Matatu's driver, in our custody," said Ogembo. "They were arrested by our officers and those of KWS while trying to sell the elephant tusks with an estimated value of Kes. 3.3 million. They will be judged on Monday by direct action".
Collaboration between departments and also the local population was crucial.
"We have worked closely with our colleagues in the Kenya Wildlife Service - reported Ogendo - We also thank the citizens who have provided us with crucial information that led to the arrest of the culprits".
The hunt for poachers in action during this period has intensified and the request to the residents of Laikipia is to cooperate and remain in close contact with KWS and law enforcement, although it does not seem that the tusks in possession of the three criminals came from elephants killed recently.
"From the state of the pieces of tusks, which are not particularly new - explained the KWS officer - the illegal goods should come from poaching activities not very recent".
The attention remains very high everywhere, from Meru Park to the Lewa reserve, where last December, two specimens of rhinoceros were killed. Poaching activity was also found near the Tsavo Ovest last week, the KWS continues to track and monitor elephants.
Last March, the carcass of a very rare white giraffe, whose tracks had been lost for a few weeks, was found in a reserve in Garissa County. The meat had been removed for trade. Cases such as these could increase due to the economic crisis caused by the pandemic and the resulting restrictions leading to situations of extreme poverty and malnutrition.
 

TAGS: bracconaggio kenyafauna kenyafame kenya

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