News emerged late yesterday, Sunday 26th of January, that a rhino was shot dead by poachers inside the generally well protected Nairobi National Park, as rangers found the carcass with the horns already removed.
A similar attack had taken place just 5 months ago in August, then, as now, raising the question of just how tight security around the park and especially around these prized animals is.
Kenya now has one of the toughest wildlife laws in the world in place with fines ranging up to 20 million Kenya Shillings or around 250.000 US Dollars and prison terms up to life sentences. Several poachers were in recent weeks shot dead by rangers and security personnel but there seems to be no end to human greed, inspite of the risks involved now for poachers, as this latest incident shows.
The South African disease of uncontrolled rhino poaching, last year alone were 1.004 rhinos slaughtered for their horns, has made its way to East Africa, as only last week a rhino was poached in the Serengeti, now followed by another one inside the Nairobi National Park.
An enraged conservation source from Nairobi literally shouted down the phone when discussing this latest rhino killing: ‘Rhino horn is just the same as finger or toe nails. We should start a campaign to force feed those Chinese and others over there our toe nail cuttings, perhaps that will cure them of whatever disease they hope to cure with powdered rhino horn’.
KWS, perhaps in view of the incident having taken place on a Sunday, has not yet issued any statement by the time of uploading this article though comments are expected on Monday morning.
Another regular source added his outrage when writing: ‘I am for sure not a supporter of extrajudicial killings but for poachers the time is now to shoot to kill. They show no mercy for elephant and rhinos, so they should expect no mercy themselves. They give bullets to these animals and should die by bullets too’.
The anger of conservationists is understandable as poaching is considered highly lucrative for poachers and their financiers and middle men but at the same time poses a deadly threat to the safari tourism business across East Africa, which in the opinion of some amounts to economic sabotage, and in the opinion of a few to high treason.
Only a few days ago did news come out of Hong Kong that the government there was given the green light to crush over 31 tons of blood ivory confiscated over the past few years while the big herds of elephant, especially in Tanzania, were ruthlessly decimated by commercial style poaching gangs.
Investigations are now underway in Nairobi to try and establish how the poachers managed to get in and out of the national park, shoot a rhino and get away with the horns without immediate detection. This latest in a series of incidents has also resulted in renewed calls for the deployment of UAV’s, aka drones, on a 24/7 basis so that suspicious movements can be detected in real time and airborne and ground units dispatched immediately.
Source: Wolfgang H Thome