Increased small wildlife poaching in the Tsavo Conservation Area worries experts

By RENSON MNYAMWEZI

Taita-Taveta County: Wildlife conservation experts have identified a poaching point in the Tsavo Conservation Area (TCA) despite a step up in anti-poaching activities in the region.

The anti-poaching measures recently introduced include the use of surveillance drones, and conservations now report that a notorious criminal was released from 11-year jail term on presidential pardon is one of the masterminds behind the many poaching.

Over the weekend, the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) personnel arrested nine subsistence poachers and recovered over three tonnes of game meat in the Tsavo area.

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According to TCA Assistant Director Robert Robert Obrein, some of the suspects were arrested at Ithumbi in the Northern part of the Tsavo ecosystem while the rest at Kasigau location and Darajani near Mtito-Andei Township.

Obrein said KWS personnel impounded giraffe and lesser kudu meat including 125 snare wires and poisoned arrows from the suspects.  The snares are being used to catch and kill small and big game like elephants. 

Obrein disclosed that they had arrested two of the notorious poachers who had indiscriminately been slaughtering wildlife with impunity in the Tsavo area.

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One of the ringleaders in poaching activities identified as “Museveni” had earlier been jailed for 11 years for engaging in wildlife-related crimes in the region.

Bush meat trade

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“Immediately the suspect was released from prison following a presidential pardon, he went straight to poaching. The sentences meted against poachers are not enough,” said Obrein.

The arrest comes at a time when the government is grappling with increased cases of poaching.

Obrein said in the past two months, the conservation body had so far arrested a total of 75 poachers in the region, regarded as one of the worst hit by both subsistence and commercial poaching activities.

“We commend the local community for joining hands in the fight against poaching in the region. If the relevant stakeholders do not work together to address the poaching menace, some wildlife species will be wiped out by the poachers,” he said.

Noting that some small wildlife species are facing extinction due to widespread subsistence poaching, Obrein said the ongoing bush meat trade in local ranches is adversely affecting tourism a trend that needs to be addressed.

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Kenya Wildlife Service Tsavo Conservation Area Taita-Taveta County Robert Obrein