ANTI POACHING MEASURES YIELD ARRESTS
News emerged in Kenya late yesterday that police and other security operatives have arrested a gang of poachers transporting ivory from Isiolo to Nairobi. Over 40 elephant tusks were confiscated in the operation together with the truck, as it was used in carrying illicit contraband.
Three suspects are due to appear in court today and one source in Nairobi expressed hope that the accused will crack under interrogation and reveal their financial backers and locations where the blood ivory was to be delivered to.
Poaching in Kenya has increased in recent months, in line with other African countries, and only last week did KWS establish an anti poaching camp in Laikipia district to hunt for poachers now sneaking into conservancies with rhinos, while intensifying intelligence gathering on a broader scale to curb the menace.
Today, Kenya will burn about 5 tons of blood ivory, confiscated in Singapore years ago and recently return to the country, although DNA analysis showed that the ivory more likely originated in Zambia.
The ceremony, due to be attended by President Mwai Kibaki, will mark the second public burning of blood ivory in Kenya, almost 30 years to the day (19th of July 1989) the first such public show of defiance against poaching was held in Nairobi at the time by President Daniel arap Moi. The location today is the Kenya Wildlife Service training camp in Manyani / Tsavo East National Park and the conservation fraternity in Kenya is expected to turn out in force to witness the event and promote anti poaching and wildlife conservation on a broader basis in Kenya and the wider region.
Kenya has to be congratulated for her determined stand on this hugely controversial issue, as the country, unlike others, has opted to burn ivory to remove it from the market instead of beseeching the CITES Secretariat in Lusaka and the CITES General Assembly for permission to feed the frenzied ivory market with yet more supplies.
Conservation taken seriously, let others take a leaf from that, urges this correspondent.