Malaysian customs officers show elephant tusks from Africa
which recently seized in Port Klang outside Kuala Lumpur in
December. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad
Kenyan police and wildlife service rangers have shot dead
two poachers who had killed four elephants, authorities say,
days after the slaughter of 12 animals sparked national
Elephant poaching in Kenya declined sharply after 1989 when
the government banned trade in ivory. But it has revived in
recent years, driven by fast-rising demand for ornamental
ivory in Asia in step with growing Chinese influence and
investment in Africa.
Kenya Police and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said there had
been a shootout between security forces and poachers late on
Tuesday in the Mlango area of the eastern county of Isiolo.
"A team of rangers from the anti-poaching unit (of KWS) and
police shot the two poachers and eight tusks were recovered,"
Isiolo police commander Daniel Kamanga told Reuters. They
also recovered rifles and ammunition.
KWS said it had also arrested two suspected poachers in
Isiolo on Sunday and recovered ivory and a rifle and
On Saturday, a gang of about 10 people killed a family of 12
elephants, including a calf, and hacked off their tusks in
Tsavo East National Park, in the biggest single mass shooting
of the animals on record in Kenya.
KWS puts the number of elephants in Kenya at a total of
Prime Minister Raila Odinga said on Wednesday at least 360
elephants were killed last year, up from at least 289 in
"The danger seems to be worsening with every passing day. We
must respond to this growing threat in a big way and we must
respond fast," he said in a statement.
"Security agencies must treat the emerging poaching threat as
part of the insecurity gripping the country and not a
wildlife issue to be addressed solely by the Kenya Wildlife
In May, 359 tusks seized in Sri Lanka were found to have come
from Kenya's Mombasa port.
Police impounded 214 tusks worth $1.32 million hidden in a
coffin and fertiliser bags in neighbouring Tanzania in
October. The force said smugglers had planned to transport
the ivory to Kenya for shipment to Asia.
Kenya's tourism sector, a major foreign exchange earner,
largely relies on visitors who want to see its wildlife.
"While the events in Kenya are clearly part of the growing
global surge in poaching fuelled by high demand for ivory in
Asian countries, we have a duty to secure our precious
wildlife for posterity and continued economic wellbeing of
our nation," Odinga said.