Poaching reduced drastically in Tsavo Conservation area: official says

Poaching incidences in Kenya's third largest nature conservation area, Tsavo Conservancy, have gone down by 96 per cent owing to improved monitoring and security operations by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and conservation partners in the region.

According to the Conservancy Assistant Director, Mr George Osuri, intensified patrols both on land and in air as well as better coordination amongst the security teams and rangers’ dedication to their work, has led to improved security and reduction of poaching cases.

He reiterated that the government was committed to end the poaching vice and ensure that wildlife thrives in the conservation area.

Osuri spoke at the scenic Lugard Falls during a Tsavo East National Park clean-up exercise, as a prelude to national celebrations of World Elephant Day held over the weekend.

“We have made tremendous progress in thwarting and containing the poaching menace in the park. We intend to escalate our operations to rid the park off this menace,” he said.

The clean-up exercise brought together several conservation bodies, including Tsavo Rangeland Foundation, Tsavo Trust, Friends of Tsavo, Wildlife Works and pupils from primary schools in the region.

The exercise covered a distance of 183 kilometres of park roads and saw over 350 kilograms of garbage collected and disposed.

Osuri said that park visitors had a duty to protect the environment just as the rangers, warning that plastic and other non-biodegradable litter had adverse effects on both plant and animals life.

“We want to urge our visitors to stop dumping papers and cans in the park. They are a hazard to animals,” he said.

The Tsavo conservation area is the largest protected area in East and Central Africa covering an area of over 21,000 km2.

It encompasses Tsavo East and West national parks and Mkomazi National Park in Kilimanjaro area in Tanzania.

And according to the recent 2017 aerial elephant census, the area has 12, 866 jumbos roaming its vast land.

In the meantime, KWS has strengthened its patrol teams along the Kenya-Tanzania border to stop poaching groups from the neighboring country from gaining access into the Tsavo ecosystem.

Benson Kigo, the Chair of Tsavo Rangeland Foundation, said both local and international partners should join hands to boost war against poaching, adding that civic education was needed to inform communities on how wildlife impacted on people’s livelihoods.

“We are engaging the community to bring local people on board in conservation matters, including dangers of wanton littering,” he said.

He identified the area between Voi and Mtito-Andei along Nairobi-Mombasa Highway as having been turned into a dumpsite by travelers using the highway which posed a threat to wildlife in the area.