Tsavo National Park Poaching

Tsavo National Park Poaching : Poaching activity is defined as the illegal shooting, trapping, or taking the wild animals from the reserved areas to other areas without any permission, this is a major existential threat to numerous wild animal’s important contributor to biodiversity loss in the parks of the Tsavo East and Tsavo West national parks. Poaching started during the period before the establishment of the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) in 1989 was characterised by the massive poaching, insecurity in the park, inefficiency and the law morale within the game department, partly a result of inadequate support in conserving and the managing of the Kenya’s wildlife. Tsavo was under great threat from the poachers but the local communities and non-governmental organizations and the Kenya Wildlife Services have been working together to increase security in the park in hopes to bring back both the rhino and the elephants population.

Tsavo National Park is a combination of Tsavo East and Tsavo West national parks along with the ranches that serve as Watch, driven predominately wildlife dispersal areas cover 16,000 square miles (42,000 square kilometres). Largely road less, Tsavo harbours around 12,000 elephants and over 10% of Africa’s great tuskers. In the past, massive poaching, drought and human encroachment hit this haven for the elephants hard. A population of over 60,000 elephants and just a handful of rhinos in the late 80’s. The formation of Kenya Wildlife Services and an international ivory trade ban in 1989 resulted in enhanced security for wildlife and the elephant population in Tsavo enjoyed steady growth for over two decades.

In Tsavo West national park is a whiff of legend about it, first for its lions which would famously devour humans in the late 19th century and then for its devastating levels of poaching in the 1980’s. Despite the latter, there is still plenty of wildlife in the Tsavo West national park. Kenya Wildlife services arrested a suspected poacher in possession of an elephant tusk at Elerai area in Tsavo West National park, these efforts have led to zero rhino poaching in Kenya in the year 2020, the first time in about two decades, at least 20,000 elephants are killed annually in Africa for their ivory. This translates into 55 elephants killed daily or one elephant killed every 26 minutes with a population of the 35000 elephants.

Tsavo National Park Poaching
Tsavo National Park Poaching

In Tsavo East national park, however on May 11th,2003 two Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) two rangers were killed by the poachers these rangers died in a valiant effort to protect the wildlife of Tsavo East National park. In Tsavo national park, Kenya Wildlife Services officials moved quickly to deal with the elephant poaching incident, sending both ground and aerial teams to track the gang down. They recovered ivory from nine elephants that had been buried by the poachers, they also found ammunition and guns including an AK-47 assault rifle, here a poacher was shot and killed after the poaching gang fired on rangers, highlighting the intensity of the poaching issues in the park. This incident is a reminiscent of poacher activity in the 1980’s when Kenya lost most of its elephants. In the Tsavo ecosystem alone, elephants ere reduced from over 25000 to fewer than 5000, during those times, it was typical for a gang to kill elephants and bury the ivory nearby while they continue hunting, as carrying hundreds of kilograms of ivory would slow them down considerably. The ivory could be collected at a later date and despite the apparent monotony of this vast landscape, the poachers are able to relocate and recover the ivory months or even years later, they navigate using mental maps of features such as trees and bushes that form patterns such as a triangle or an arrow pointing towards the cache. Poaching reduces tourism receipts and affects the long-term sustainability of tourism.

Measures to stop poaching in Kenya.

Kenya Wildlife Services has enabled to work with other stakeholders that is the church and community leaders, community people, farmers and among others to put in place mechanisms like the strict laws and regulations against poaching agency collaboration, intensive intelligence led operations among others, enhanced community education, inter to eradicate all forms of wildlife crime particular poaching which will led to the increase of the wildlife in the country.

On April 30th,2016, Kenya set ablaze 105 tonnes of elephant ivory and 1.35 tonnes of rhino horn to smouldering ash. President Uhuru Kenyatta led world leaders and the conservationists in burning the remaining of 6,500 elephants and the 450 rhinos killed for their tusks and the horns ‘’ For us, ivory is worthless unless it is on our elephants,’’ Uhuru said.

African Wildlife Foundation has provided funding and support to help build and mountain fences, repair ranger houses a provide tools and equipment’s to help the rangers in their work of helping in the conservation of the wildlife against poaching.

African Wildlife Foundation conducts workshops in various districts of Kenya to inform local magistrates, police, customs and immigrants officials, communities and others, many of which are unware of the extent and impact of the poaching and trafficking crisis about the existing wildlife laws and the need for enforcing them.

Tsavo National Park Poaching
Tsavo National Park Poaching

Additionally, conservation groups such as the African Wildlife Conservation and its partners are facilitating community and trans border protection of the wildlife areas, coordinating their efforts with the Kenya Wildlife Services existing Canine Detection Unit with the additional dogs and supporting training, the Canine Detection Unit is responsible for detecting contraband wildlife products such as ivory and rhino horn at airports and sea ports, thus obstructing the trafficking process.

Weak governance and corruption have exacerbated the poaching crisis. Endemic poverty has helped organised criminal elements recruit, bribe, and threaten locals under paid police, military personnel and wildlife rangers to participate in the wildlife crime. This crisis, if left unchecked, will have a profound effect on regional biodiversity and the economy. African elephants and the rhinos plat acritical role in maintaining the biodiversity of savannah and the forest ecosystems, in addition they attract tourism that brings in foreign dollars and bolsters economies. The surge killing of the elephants and other endangered species threatens not only wildlife populations, but economic development and the livelihoods of millions of people who depend on tourism for a living.

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