Kenya to beef up security at animal parks to curb poaching   2013-02-08 21:00:51            

NAIROBI, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's Cabinet on Friday expressed rampant poaching of elephants and rhinos in the country's national parks and called for increased security at all parks to help curb the menace.

A statement issued after the Cabinet meeting in Nairobi, directed that stakeholders be engaged and involved in efforts to secure wildlife which is one of the leading foreign exchange earners for Kenya.

"The Cabinet was dismayed by the large number of elephants and rhinos killed by poachers in the recent past and directed the minister for forestry and wildlife to flush out all herders from the parks," the statement said.

Incidents of poaching have increased as KWS expressed fears that the scenes of 1970s and 80s when poaching was a serious menace, and contributed to the depletion of wildlife including elephants, lions and rhinos are back, are threatening many years of conservation efforts and animal populations that had started to balloon.

KWS said the situation calls for a united approach that will not only facilitate the capture of those involved in wildlife crime, but also enhance prosecution of the illegal killing and trafficking of wildlife.

The East African nation remains an important link on trade routes to international destinations for illicit consignments of wildlife products and particularly ivory.

Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Director William Kiprono recently expressed concern about the use of her entry/exit points for trafficking of wildlife products.

Kiprono said that both Kenyan citizens and foreigners are involved in ivory trafficking and the destination of the ivory and rhino horns is mainly outside the country.

The KWS boss said several consignments of ivory have also been intercepted in other parts of the world with reports linking some of the seizures to have originated from Kenya.

Stiffer penalties related to wildlife crime have been incorporated under the recently enacted wildlife law to deter poaching-related cases and incidents in Kenya.

Conservationists have warned that poachers are becoming more heavily armed, making it harder for often ill-equipped park wardens to protect the animals.

During the Friday meeting, the Cabinet also directed the wildlife minister to take immediate action to eliminate the poaching menace from the national parks and private conservancies.

"The Cabinet further directed that a multi-agency specialized security team be deployed in all parks and other areas with the aim of protecting elephants and rhinos from poachers," the statement said.

Editor: Hou Qiang
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