This story demonstrates just how widesapread rhino poaching has become as the demand from China and Vietnam drives up prices. It also shows the degree of impunity poachers have, as governments fail to deal with the problem efficiently and, of course, because of political corruption and organized crime. Interesting that Xinhua reports it but without any reference to the Chinese end of the story and the role of Chinese in ordering, smuggling and buying poached rhino horn and ivory. KS

Xinhua – African news

Kenyan ranger injured as white rhino killed by poachers at Nairobi park
 
English.news.cn   2013-08-13 07:12:25                

 
 
 

NAIROBI, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) — Kenya’s wildlife authorities said late Monday that a white rhino has been killed in Nairobi National Park by poachers and made away with its horns.

The carcass, which had gunshot wounds, was discovered by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) rangers on routine patrol, KWS Corporate Affairs Manater Paula Udoto said in a statement released in Nairobi.

The killing of the white rhino is the first such poaching incident in the park in the last six years.

This brings the number of rhinos killed across the East African country since January to 35.

Last year, 29 rhinos were killed by poachers across the country. Udoto said KWS security team is investigating the incident with a view of bringing the culprits to book.

The incident comes a few days after the Kenyan government formed a special inter-agency crack-unit to combat poaching in the country.

The anti-poaching unit named the Elite Inter-Agency Anti- Poaching Unit comprises of security officers from the KWS, the Administration Police (AP) and the General Service Unit (GSU).

The special unit, which shall be under the command of KWS, will undergo a joint training at the KWS Law Enforcement Academy (LEA) at Manyani before deployment to poaching hotspot areas of Narok, Tsavo and Isiolo in eastern Kenya.

Already, the government has established an Inter-Agency Task Force to advice and coordinates wildlife security management interventions across the country.

A total of 190 elephants have been killed so far this year while KWS has lost two rangers in encounters with poachers.

However, plans are underway to recruit an additional 1,000 KWS rangers to overcome these challenges and effectively tackle poaching.

Meanwhile, a KWS ranger was at the weekend shot and injured by suspected poachers during a gunfight in Lake Nakuru National Park.

Udoto said the injured ranger and his colleagues encountered two poachers in the park.

“He was hit when the shoot-out ensued and was evacuated to a hospital in Nakuru town where he is recuperating. The poachers are believed to have escaped with injuries,” he said.

“One .458 rifle, six rounds of ammunition and one spent cartridge were recovered. Other items including meat cutter saw, two cell phones, cleaning rod, pull through, fresh chapatis and Yoghurt, several polythene covers were also recovered,” he added.

The poachers are believed to have escaped with injuries.

KWS security team is combing the area with a view to apprehending the poachers. KWS has also adopted a multi-faceted approach to eliminate the poaching vice.

The organization has actively engaged communities living next to wildlife sanctuaries through conservation education on the negative impacts of poaching.

Consumers of illegal wildlife products, both local and international are being sensitized on their indirect contribution to poaching by buying such products. KWS also urged the Judiciary to mete out deterrent sentences to smugglers of wildlife products.  xinhua

 

Environment News Service

NAIROBI, Kenya, July 19, 2013 (ENS) – Two Kenya Wildlife Service officers were killed in two separate gunfights with suspected poachers Thursday while responding to a poaching incident within the Kipini Wildlife and Botanical Conservancy in Tana River County.

The two who lost their lives in these confrontations are the unit commanding officer and a ranger belonging to an anti-poaching unit in the area. The rest of the rangers escaped unhurt.

Kenya Wildlife Service rangers line up for inspection (Photo courtesy KWS)

Kenya Wildlife Service rangers line up for inspection (Photo courtesy KWS)

A poacher was also killed in one of the incidents.

An AK47 rifle, three rifle magazines and 208 rounds of ammunition were recovered.

The first incident occurred when the rangers on a patrol mission in the area encountered an unknown number of a poaching gang believed to be on an elephant poaching mission in the dense forest.

The rangers came under fierce gun fire which killed the first ranger. The team was forced to retreat.

Six hours later, in an attempt to recover the body of the slain ranger, the team of Kenya Wildlife Service rangers and a reinforcement team including the Kenya Police, moved onto the scene not knowing that the poachers had laid an ambush.

The law enforcers came under gunfire which killed the KWS officer commanding the unit. It was not immediately clear whether the gang members who escaped were injured in the gun battle.

Eventually the bodies of the slain officers were removed to Malindi Hospital mortuary. The bodies will be flown to Nairobi to await burial arrangements.

A joint operation by Kenya Wildlife Service and Kenya Police is underway to pursue and arrest the poaching gang.

The Kipini Conservancy is located on the Kenyan coast and contains a corridor for elephants that migrate from the shore to the Witu Forest and then disperse further inland.

The Conservancy was established in 2004 to conserve the integrity of this corridor and other critically endangered animals, such as the Hirola antelope, the last representative of the genus; endangered endemic monkeys, the Tana River mangabey and the Tana red colobus; and the Cape hunting dog.

Globally recognized biodiversity hotspots in the region include the eastern arc mountains of Tanzania and Kenya and the coastal zone, particularly the Tana Delta and adjacent coastal forests and rangelands.

In the 19 months since December 2011, six Kenya Wildlife Service rangers have been killed by poachers. Their names were unveiled on the Conservation Heroes Monument in Nairobi by the then Minister for Forestry and Wildlife Noah Wekesa, in a ceremony to mark conservation heroes day in December 2012.

From January through the end of May, Kenya lost 21 rhinos and 117 elephants to poachers. Of these elephants, 37 were killed in protected areas.

Last year, Kenya lost 384 elephants and 30 rhinos to criminals, “a worrying trend” that KWS spokesman Paul Udoto warns is “not sustainable.” http://ens-newswire.com/2013/07/19/poachers-kill-two-kenya-wildlife-service-officers/