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Poaching still a thorn in flesh of KWS despite success in conservation

Updated Tuesday, June 29th 2010 at 00:00 GMT +3
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By Boniface Ongeri

Though largely brought under control, poaching continues to haunt Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) in several parks.

The KWS Director Julius Kipng’etich says poachers have killed 234 elephants and 18 rhinos in parks and private ranches in the past few years.

Kipng’etich said that although the figure by international standards is small, the trend is worrying especially with some countries pushing for the lifting of trade in game trophies for the endangered species.

The director said KWS would spend over Sh100 million to strengthen partnership with communities through enterprise approach and move away from conflict resolution.

He said the organisation is in talks with The Treasury for the Government to start funding wildlife research like other research institutions, which receive funds from the State.

The director said drastic effects of climate change call for strategies to mitigate and manage extreme weather variations.

"We are faced with extreme droughts and extreme rains which have immense implications on wildlife", he said.

"Habitat degradation, deforestation, overuse of wetlands, disappearing rivers and swamps need attention," he said.

Kipng’etich was speaking in Garissa, North Eastern Province, which KWS has made its ‘last frontier’ in its local tourism promotion campaign.

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