Kenya embarks on security audit in private game reserves

Kenya Wildlife Services rangers inspect the carcass of an elephant killed by poachers. Photo | FILE | KWS
Kenya Wildlife Services rangers inspect the carcass of an elephant killed by poachers. Elephant and rhino populations in East Africa have dropped in the last three years due to poaching to serve demand from China. Photo | FILE | KWS 

The government has ordered the Kenya Wildlife Service to undertake immediate audit of security in all private ranches and conservancies in the country, as the poaching menace bites hard.

According to the Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, the government has embarked on urgent review of security in all private game reserves.

“Let me also announce that the ministry has embarked on an urgent review of security and related matters at all private game reserves,” said Dr Richard Lesiyampe, the PS  in a speech read on his behalf by Patrick Omondi, the Deputy Director In charge of Wildlife Conservation at KWS.

The ministry has directed KWS to immediately step in and boost security in needy conservancies.

“It’s a welcome move and we appreciate the gesture. Although on our part we have we have enough security,” said John Pameri, the Chief Security Officer at Lewa Conservancy.

The country has in the last three years fallen victim to rhinos and elephants poachers. In 2013, 294 elephants and 30 rhinos were killed by poachers. Six of the rhinos belonged to Lewa Conservancy.

However, Lewa insists poaching on its ground is due to insiders or former staff who work in cohorts with poachers.

“We don’t believe someone with no prior knowledge of the conservancy can walk in and kill a rhino. They must be having an informant who knows the area so well,” explained Mr Pameri. 

This year, five rhinos have been killed in the country.  The most recent being last weekend at the 90,000 acre Ol Pejeta Ranch. “The killing of a black rhino bull at Ol Pejeta Conservancy last weekend is a matter of great concern. We are taking it very seriously and I am glad that three suspects have already been charged in court,” said Dr Lesiyampe.

Poachers have resolved to use poisoned arrows to kill the animals. On Tuesday, two poachers shot four rhinos at Lake Nakuru National Park.

Meanwhile, Nakumatt Holdings, Ol Pejeta, Coca-Cola, P&G and Nestle will run a marketing campaign dubbed “Go Wild”, geared at raising awareness on conservation. The drive was unveiled on Tuesday.