By Protus Onyango
NAIROBI, KENYA: An elite anti-poaching squad has been formed to fight poaching of endangered species in Kenya.
The Environment ministry, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and other arms of Government have partnered to form a special anti-poaching unit named the Elite Inter-Agency Anti-Poaching Unit, comprising of security officers from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), the Administration Police (AP) and the General Service Unit (GSU).
The special unit, which shall be under the command of KWS, is undergoing a joint training at the KWS Law Enforcement Academy (LEA) at Manyani before deployment to poaching hotspot areas of Narok, Tsavo and Isiolo.
“The Government is committed to provide facilitation and equipment to support the Elite Inter-Agency Anti-Poaching Unit operations,” said Mulei Muia, the head of communications at the ministry of Environment.
“In order to support the Unit, the Government has engaged partners, including the governments of United States, China and the United Kingdom for assistance. Plans are underway to recruit an additional 1000 KWs rangers to effectively tackle poaching,” he added.
The Government shall also deploy aerial surveillance support to enhance their capacity to deal with poaching incidents.
Already, the Government has established an Inter-Agency Task Force to advice and co-ordinate wildlife security management interventions across the country. KWS has also adopted a multi-faceted approach to eliminate the poaching vice.
The organization has actively engaged communities living next to wildlife sanctuaries, through conservation education on the negative impacts of poaching.
Consumers of illegal wildlife products, both local and international are being sensitised on their indirect contribution to poaching by buying such products. Mr Muia also revealed that the ministry gazetted the Wildlife Conservation and Management Bill, 2013 last month aims to tackle poaching of wildlife. The purpose of the Bill is to broaden investment in the wildlife sector, in order to support livelihoods of the Kenyan people, among others.