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Suspected poacher linked to Nakuru rhino killing arrested

By Caroline Chebet | Published Wed, August 8th 2018 at 17:09, Updated August 8th 2018 at 17:21 GMT +3
The 12-year-old Male Black Rhino killed by poachers at Lake Nakuru National Park on July 31, 2018. [KWS]

In summary

  • 12 black rhinos have since died in a span of one month.
  • 11 of them following the translocation that went awry while the latest to poaching in Lake Nakuru.
  • A kilo of rhino horn can fetch up to Sh6,000,000 on the black market, which ironically, is just made of keratin, the same substance as human fingernails.

A suspected poacher linked to the killing of a 12-year-old black rhino in Lake Nakuru National Park last week, was on Tuesday night arrested at Ndabibi area in Naivasha.

The Kenya Wildlife Service intelligence officers arrested the suspect in Maela area where they also recovered a riffle and ivory during the operation that has been going.

“A 3006 riffle and six pieces of curved ivory were also recovered during the operation,” Paul Udoto, KWS corporate Communication officer said.

Udoto added that suspect is currently being interrogated by officers to provide information that will help them in their investigations.

“The suspect has been arrested following the operation that has been on-going for the past one week after the rhino was killed. The suspect, who is under police custody, will however provide the officers with the information that will help in the investigations,” he said.

He added that the suspect will be arraigned in court once the officers have collected enough evidence and critical information needed to sustain the case in court.

“For now, officers are trying to get crucial leads, he noted.

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The rhino was killed on July 30 by poachers suspected to have sneaked into the park, killing the rhino before chopping off its horns and taking off with them.

The poaching of the rhino, said to have been felled by a G3 gun happened after more than two years of zero poaching, following years that almost crippled the sanctuary.

The incident came in the wake of 11 other rhinos which died after a translocation process that went awry at Tsavo National Park.

Two other Tanzanian nationals found with pieces of ivory weighing 40 kilogrammes were arrested in Manyera area, Suna West Sub-County at the border of Kenya and Tanzania.

The duo was on Wednesday arrested while another suspect escaped. KWS officers however impounded a foreign registered motorcycle during the operation.

Between 2014 and 2015, the park lost more than 10 rhinos to poachers, some who made away with the horns while others were killed during the incident.

The rising water levels in Lake Nakuru said to have pushed the rhinos further to the periphery is suspected to have made them susceptible to poaching.

In 2012, 30 rhinos were poached in the country with the numbers almost doubling the following year to 59 rhinos to poaching. In 2014, the numbers dropped to 14, but Nakuru, still had the highest record of six.

In Kenya and globally, black rhino numbers suffered a catastrophic decline with Kenya recording a 98 percent drop with the population plummeting from over 20,000 in 1970 to only 350 in 1983.

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