By BEN AGINA
The contract for the Kenya Wildlife Service Director Julius Kipng’etich has been renewed for three more years.
The renewal by President Kibaki follows intense lobbying for the position both within and out of the parastatal.
Contacted, KWS Communications Manager Paul Udoto confirmed staff had on Monday been informed of the renewal of Dr Kipng’etich’s contract.
However, he declined to comment on claims of succession politics at the institution, saying: "Please allow us to focus on serving our visitors and protecting our priceless wildlife during this festive season. We will respond to the rest of the issues in the New Year."
Well-placed sources said following Kipng’etich’s contract renewal, the Government had started shopping around for his successor given that internally there seems to be no suitable replacement.
The incumbent’s second term was to end this month.
Sources said a well-connected clique led by senior KWS staff and officials in the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife had largely driven the lobbying.
The lobbyists are suspected to be behind gutter press reports on alleged poaching and theft of wildlife trophies.
In the recent past, KWS has heightened surveillance against poaching.
Reports indicate KWS eliminated the highest number of suspected poachers last month.
To check on illegal trafficking in wildlife trophies at points of entry and exit into Kenya, the KWS has deployed sniffer dogs at airports.
Sources at KWS said plans were under way to have the training of rangers enhanced to the level of US Marines to effectively protect wildlife, especially in private wildlife ranches and conservancies.
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