RHINO POACHED OVER THE WEEKEND IN JANUARY IN NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK


Poachers slaughtered a rhino in Nairobi National Park over the weekend as confirmed by KWS Officials. This brazen attack comes despite tough new laws designed in the newly passed Wildlife bill to stem a surge of such killings and the government efforts to secure our Wildlife.

“Nairobi National Park is one of the best protected areas, so it is a really shocking thing for us,” KWS spokesman Paul Udoto.
“The rhino horns were hacked and taken away… investigations are underway.”

Nairobi National Park is a major rhino sanctuary seen as ideal for breeding and restocking other parks and sanctuaries all over the country and it has been previously believed a secure environment as it is fenced in for much of its 117 square kilometres.

The shooting of a second rhino in less than a 6 months in the heavily guarded, small and enclosed park shows that there are several loopholes requiring heavier measures to be put in place to guard our Heritage – the Wildlife. The first rhino in the last five years in Nairobi Park was killed by poachers in August 2013 and its horns hacked and carried away.

Nairobi National Park is the Headquarters of Kenya Wildlife Service and close to the country’s capital city and is described as “a unique ecosystem by being the only protected area in the world close to a capital city”.

For more than 15 years Kenyan Courts and Wildlife Stakeholders have had a hard time punishing and prosecuting poachers within the limited wildlife bill.

The new Wildlife Act signed into law provides for stiffer penalties with poachers now facing fines as much as Sh20 million and possible life in jail. Previously, punishment for the most serious wildlife crimes was capped at a maximum fine of Kshs40, 000, and a possible jail term of up to 10 years. Many poachers prosecuted in court have been paying the fine of Kshs 30,000 or serving six months only in prison.

Poaching has risen sharply in Africa in recent years, with rhinos and elephants particularly hard hit for their horns and tusks respectively. The shooting of a second rhino in Nairobi Park shows how easily poachers are devastating our Country’s and Continent’s large animals and stern actions need to be taken now.

The hacked horns and tusks are smuggled to Asian consumers who believe it has healing properties despite being made of Keratin the same material as our hair and fingernails.

Wildlife officials confirmed that plans are being implemented from last year to microchip all rhinos in the country, just over 1,000 animals altogether as a measure of securing them.

Kenya is also a key transit point for ivory smuggled from across the region.

Written by Nyawira Njenga

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3 responses to “RHINO POACHED OVER THE WEEKEND IN JANUARY IN NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK

  1. For how long are we going to read and listen to the poaching news over the media??????? Time is up that we should act.Things do not just happen but if they happen then we have to bet that they are organized and executed by people who have clear understanding of the park and the movements of the security personnel s within the park.
    Our beautiful park is going to loose it’s value if we don’t take immediate action to solve this problem once and for all.Why don’t we instal the Radio Frequency Identification on all the endangered species like the Rhino and Elephants such that their movements and close environment can be monitored round the clock/24 hours.
    Let’s implement policies that never maintains status quo,policies that demands change,policies that empowers and this problem will be a history of the dark age…not the enlightened generation of 21st Century.

  2. Whilst the Kenya government is waffling with implementation of policies to curb poaching, it is evident that poaching is highly likely to continue, because of the recent shooting of black rhino in Nairobi National Park. Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Head quarters is located in Nairobi National Park. With its location in the park, we expect stringent measures, tight security measures with modern technological equipments to detect and repulse any machinery, gun or others sneaked nearby by a poacher and intended to kill any animal in the park.
    To our surprise this not the case, with that heavy security instilled in the park, we lost black rhino early this year not unless our officers were complicit in the catastrophic event.
    It is high time the government should evaluate the sustainable value lost by killing our animals and equate it against the ongoing development projects including the infrastructure network undertaken by Chinese government. As it has been seen that, prior to the commencement of the projects, we had mild poaching in our national parks and game reserve in various locations in the country. Our officers were thorough and from time to time and thwarted any effort to kill our animals by poachers during which period Dr. Richard Leaky served as the director of Kenya Wildlife Service. No poacher would attempt to invade Nairobi National Park for fear of consequences.
    Since then, poaching has become a common phenomenon. As a result, we have lost so many animals from poaching activities.

    We therefore call upon the government to move to west (Europe) where concerns about animals rights, destruction of natural environments etc. as being the concept of sustainable development is upheld. Kenyans would benefit a lot more from grant / aid given by the EU or World bank to finance acquisition of modern equipments to protect our national parks country wide from poaching menace. This is quite significant suggestion as sustainability is a key to success for the present generation as well as the future generation. Since future generation would also wish to see different kind of animals that existed in the National Parks and game reserves in the 21st century and also benefit from tourism income. John Bob Awiti. Migori County

  3. It is wrong to insinuate that increased poaching is due to increase in Chinese engagement in Kenya. Chinese have been involved in development projects in Tanzania and Zambia for a long time without the region witnessing such high levels of poaching that we are experiencing in the Eastern Africa Region. Let’s not use them as scapegoat for failures in our Wildlife Management System.

    Wildlife Protection System has failed at 3 levels:- At Kenya Wildlife Service, national security network and at the international levels- with the latter’s inability to address market availability for poached animal products.

    First and foremost, the system of protecting our Wildlife Resources has failed at KWS. Mainly I blame the personnel. Just like in the seventies or eighties, it was the Wildlife keepers that were compromised. This must be the same case again. I saw a picture on Nation News paper of a Senior KWS official holding with bare hands two Rifles reported left behind by poachers. To me that looked like a clear example of tampering with evidence. Fingers prints were certainly compromised. My first question was, where did he train as a game warden? Certainly, not at my college- Mweka!

    Secondly, national security network. I am not sure whether KWS still works with the GSU, but that did help a lot during Dr. Leakey days. But most of all, poachers use guns that could be legally or illegally obtained. That is a national security issue. So is transportation and handling of poached products. What we are witnessing is a systemic failure in security monitoring of illicit trades in arms and other products.

    Lastly, this is an international wildlife security system failure. Nations that are markets for poached animal products have to be constantly engaged by international organizations such as CITES and national governments. International Markets have to closed by engaging governments in those markets. We must involve diplomacy but also punitive measures.

    Dr. Leakey, who I worked under in the 1990s, tackled well, both personnel at KWS and international Market issue. He also kept National security people engaged in the Wildlife efforts.

    When many criticized ivory burning as a stunt (just a gimmick), he kept the international media engaged on anti poaching message. The anti-wildlife product marketing worked at global level, and we must get the whole world engaged again. We have to persuade the global media to broadcast anti poaching message even as the international community must punish nations that pay lip service to such an effort.

    But the main failures are at home- KWS personnel and National Security networks. Let’s clean house first even as we ask for international help.

    I am willing to do my part.

    Peter M. Maina,
    Former Management Planner, KWS.

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