Kenya: Poachers Kill Six Rhinos in a Week
BY JOHN MUCHANGI, 21 FEBRUARY 2014
Six rhinos have been killed in the last one week in spite of new anti-poaching laws that stipulate hefty fines or life imprisonment for offenders. One more rhino was wounded by poachers and is fighting for its life at Ol Pejeta ranch in Laikipia.
The six were killed in Solio and Ol Jogi ranches and Nakuru National Park, according to independent reports. Poachers killed two rhinos from each of the three conservancy areas and chopped off the horns.
The rising wave has startled conservationists, who fear Kenya’s new punitive law may not have deterred poachers. “The proof of the pudding will be if we put some serious players behind bars,” WildlifeDirect executive director Paula Kahumbu said recently.
Three other rhinos were killed in the last three weeks at the Nairobi National Park near the Kenya Wildlife Service headquarters. KWS said poachers killed one of the rhinos in January while the other two died while fighting each other.
Wildlife experts who sought anonymity said there is no possibility of rhinos dying in a fight and accused KWS of hiding the extent of poaching in national parks. KWS spokesman Paul Mbugua said the service can account for every animal that has been lost. “We have nothing to hide. We can account for every animal that has been lost. What do we gain by hiding?” he said.