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Editorials

KWS move on poaching welcome

That Kenya Wildlife Service plans to deploy the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART 1.0) in the fight against poaching is quite commendable.
The technique will enable KWS staff to monitor and protect wildlife more effectively.

KWS has of late come under scrutiny as poachers, most notably of rhinos for their horns and elephants for ivory, have increased their activities.

Experts have expressed fear that the scenes of the 1970s and 80s when poaching was a serious menace might be back, threatening many years of conservation efforts and animal populations that had started to balloon.

More than 1,000 rhinos, an all-time high, have been killed in the last three years. Poaching of elephants has risen to the highest level since the 1980s. Thousands of African elephants are killed every year to supply a market largely driven by Asian demand.

Elephant poaching had declined sharply after 1989 when the government banned trade in ivory.

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Herds have recovered dramatically since then, but ivory remains a commodity highly prized in the Far East where it is used in medicines, ornaments and family seals.

In January, poachers killed a family of 11 elephants in Tsavo East National Park. That’s is why KWS’ latest efforts to protect wildlife are welcome. The conservationist must do more to bring culprits to book.

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