KWS CONFISCATES BLOOD IVORY AFTER SHOOTOUT WITH POACHERS
Reports from Nairobi reached this correspondent late yesterday of a shootout between poachers and KWS security personnel near Kitui, outside the boundaries of Tsavo East National Park, which led to the confiscation of tusks and ivory pieces weighing nearly 100 kilogramms, a motor cycle used to transport the blood ivory and other items left behind when the poachers fled.
The information speaks of KWS laying a trap, with officers posing as potential buyers of the ivory, before attempting to overwhelm and arrest three suspects. At that stage a group of poachers hidden in the thick bush opened fire on the KWS team, injuring at least one before making away, but leaving the ivory and motorcycle behind as they ran off on foot into the wilderness.
The KWS management has of late recorded a series of arrests and recovered some major blood ivory hauls, the latest big catch dating back to January when nearly 700 tusks were seized at the port of Mombasa, but the killing of at least 5 rhinos over the past 10 days at Lewa Downs and the Solio Game Reserve have once again underscored the urgency of stepping up anti poaching operations, intelligence gathering and – as done now by Ol Pejeta – introduce airborne surveillance with UAV’s and have rapid response teams standing by 24 / 7.
This development takes place as the CITES meeting in Bangkok nears its end with still no major breakthrough on slapping bans on those ivory trading countries ‘misbehaving’ with immediate effect, like China and Vietnam, to kill the trade by killing demand in those two countries help responsible by the entire conservation fraternity around the world for the massive surge in poaching in Africa. Watch this space for the final outcome of the CITES meeting and what resolutions will have been agreed upon to stem the tide of poaching.