Civil servant with state security behind Rhino,Elephant slaughter.

A top official enjoying State security with all the trappings of power could be behind rampant poaching in the country, it has emerged.
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000107954&story_title=civil-servant-with-state-security-behind-rhino-elephant-slaughter

http://www.soinafricasafaris.com

 

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Kenya Wildlife Service statement on status of wildlife conservation

This statement focuses on the current status of wildlife, wildlife security, and government support and interventions as well as stakeholders contributions.
http://www.kws.org/info/news/2014/~25marchwildlifestatus2014.html
God has granted Kenya abundant natural resources, both flora and fauna. We pride ourselves of an elephant population of over 30,000, the fourth largest in the world and a rhino population of 1,041 individuals as at end of 2013, the third largest in the world.
KWS has been given the mandate to provide conservation stewardship by the people of Kenya to conserve and protect this heritage on their behalf. We continue to discharge this duty with humility and dedication despite a myriad of challenges that range from impacts of climate change, growing human population; conflicting land use practises; human-wildlife conflict; invasive species, insufficient human and technological capacity, poaching and wildlife trophy trafficking.
Our most important duty is to secure wildlife and their habitat comprising of landscape and protected areas system. In this regard, we are working hard to fight wildlife security challenges relating to poaching and smuggling illegal ivory through our ports of entry and exits.
We are alive to the fact that wildlife, particularly rhinos and elephants, are increasingly becoming vulnerable because of high demand for their horns and ivory respectively. Poaching for this prized wildlife has become more organised, sophisticated and international in nature and is occurring across their ranges including in those areas that were hitherto considered safe havens.
Furthermore, poachers not only use sophisticated weaponry, they are now using silent poaching methods that are difficult for rangers on patrol to detect. In parks such as Lake Nakuru, rising water levels have shrunken grazing land for rhinos forcing them to move to park periphery, thus an easy target for poachers. That, compounded with the fact that Lake Nakuru is located in a cosmopolitan setting, have not helped matters with poachers sneaking into the park, hitting rhinos and disappearing into the town undetected. Eighteen rhinos and 51 elephants have been lost to poachers this year. Last year, we lost a total of 59 and 302 rhinos and elephants respectively compared to 30 rhinos and 384 elephants in 2012.
In respect to smuggling of wildlife products using Kenya’s ports our law enforcement officers in collaboration with other agencies seized 13.5 tonnes of contraband ivory at the port of Mombasa last year. Majority of smuggled contraband ivory had entered Kenya from neighbouring countries. There has been a decline in the desire by smugglers to use Kenyan ports to smuggle contraband ivory since we heightened surveillance there and with the enactment of a more punitive new wildlife law.
We also appreciate the fact that Kenya’s air and sea ports are the most vibrant in the region and therefore a favorite for smugglers to and from African countries. Indeed, investigations into most of the ivory seized at our ports are said to have originated from other countries in the region and were on transit. Since the beginning of this year, KWS law enforcement officers have arrested a total of 249 suspects who have since been prosecuted for various wildlife offences. We have also recovered 21 rifles and 79 ammunitions targeted at wildlife.
We attribute the problem of poaching in Kenya and the rest of African range states to growing demand and high prices being offered for rhino horn and elephant ivory in the Far-East countries as ready market continue to spur illegal sale of ivory and rhino horn.
The Government has placed wildlife security on top of its agenda by including KWS in the National Security Advisory Council. This is also shown by its Rapid Results Initiative which cuts across all national security and law enforcement agencies including the National Police Service, National Intelligence Service, Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Airports Authority, and Kenya Ports Authority.
To restructure State Corporations, H. E President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed a Task Force on Parastatal reforms whose recommendations are being implemented. Through this process, the wildlife sector will benefit greatly by having more resources channeled to address the challenges. In addition, the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Water and Natural Resources last year established an Inter-Agency Elite Anti-Poaching Unit currently deployed in poaching hotspots.
The Cabinet Secretary also appointed a Task Force on wildlife security to identify the gaps specific to the sector. KWS has provided all the necessary information to this Task Force and we call upon the public to offer any valuable information to the Task Force.
We also acknowledge various interventions by the Government in the execution of our mandate. Of particular importance is the enactment of new Wildlife Act, 2013 that has given Kenya the toughest wildlife law in Africa. Our resolve has been and remains, that we shall not condone any further economic saboteurs to visit death on our wildlife.
We have also enhanced collaboration with other law enforcement agencies in the country, in the region and internationally to ensure a more robust intelligence gathering. The collaboration includes follow-ups on suspected poaching gangs, surveillance in all port of entry and exits and overt operations in wildlife areas.
We are currently more engaged with the Judiciary and the Office of Director of Public Prosecution in view of securing convictions for arrested perpetrators of wildlife crimes. The multifaceted nature of this approach is geared toward more robust approach to eliminating poaching and trafficking in wildlife products.
We have also enhanced partnership with communities living in wildlife-inhabited areas to enable us foil numerous poaching incidents at the planning stage. Communities remain a key pillar to wildlife conservation and its protection for posterity. We cherish their support and partnership this far.
A wildlife forensic and molecular laboratory is set to be commissioned in May 2014 to boost ou prosecution. This lab is intended to serve both East and Central Africa region in the fight against wildlife trafficking.
Finally I want to appeal to all Kenya’s to support our efforts by reporting any suspected criminals by calling our toll free numbers 0800 5970000800 597000 or 0800 22155660800 2215566. I also want to appeal to our development partners to help in the fight by channeling their resources to KWS to help us modernize our force and build capacity of our staff. We would welcome any positive criticism that will help us end the killing and wildlife trafficking.
Sharon C
http://www.soinafricasafaris.com

 

Kenya Wildlife Service statement on status of wildlife conservation

The enactment of a new law heralds a new beginning on addressing threats to wildlife conservation and institutionalising efficient management of wildlife and seeks to secure, in law, communities benefits. This has given Kenya the toughest wildlife law in Africa. KWS will leverage on the law to safeguard wildlife. http://www.kws.org/info/news/2014/19march2014wildlifestatus.html

A suspected poacher was on Monday March 18, 2014 at 1.45 am shot dead in Lake Nakuru National Park while two of his accomplices’ escaped. The body was taken to the mortuary in Nakuru and assorted weapons, including a bow, four poisoned arrows, spear and food, taken by police.  Kenya Wildlife Service acting Director General Mr William Kiprono flew to the scene of crime in Lake Nakuru National Park where he addressed journalists and KWS staff. He was accompanied by Mr Francis Kirathe, County AP Commander, Mr Mohammed Birik the County Commissioner and Mr Mbogo County CID boss.

Mr Kiprono noted that Lake Nakuru was one of the most hit by poaching of rhinos, having lost four since the beginning of the year.Vigilant KWS rangers responded swiftly and recovered horns from three of them while poachers took away one horn.  At national level, 16 rhinos have been lost, with 13 killed by poachers and three due to natural causes. Last year, Kenya lost a total of 59 rhinos. 

Thirty elephants have been poached since January this year compared 302 elephants in the whole of last year (2013). These statistics point to an emerging appetite of rhinos horns for an estimated population of 1,036 in the country. However, there is a decline of elephant poaching numbers from 384 in 2012 to 302 elephants in 2013. 

 KWS has laid out strategies to counter the runaway poaching for these species and general protection of all wildlife landscapes. KWS has created and equipped a Rapid Deployment Unit to provide support to ranger teams in areas thought to be highly vulnerable including conservancies that host endangered species. This team will join the inter-agency anti-poaching crack unit that was deployed in Narok, Tsavo and Isiolo.

KWS is continuing to build capacity of rangers to address emerging poaching methods. The training academy in Manyani has developed relevant curriculum in relation to emerging challenges.

KWS has heightened collaboration with other law enforcement agencies in the country and beyond as well as more robust intelligence gathering. The collaboration includes follow-ups on suspected poaching gangs, surveillance in all port of entry and exits and overt operations in wildlife areas. It has also roped in the Judiciary and the Office of Director of Public Prosecution in view of securing convictions for arrested perpetrators of wildlife crimes.

KWS partnership with communities living in wildlife-inhabited areas has enabled the organisation to foil numerous poaching incidents at the planning stage as members of the public volunteered information.   

In retrospect, in cases where poachers committed crime, prompt and sustained follow-ups were undertaken leading to arrest of 1,549 offenders last year. KWS law enforcement units were involved in active operations that led to active engagements with poachers leading to recovery of 68 fire arms and 2,630 rounds of ammunitions. 

KWS also recovered 13.5 tonnes of contraband ivory at the port of Mombasa and 10,106kg of bush meat last year. Majority of these smuggled contraband ivory had entered Kenya from neighbouring countries.There has been a decline in the desire by smugglers to use Kenyan ports to smuggle contraband ivory since we heightened surveillance there.

Sharon C

www.soinafricasafaris.com

 

 

Good news as East Africa joint single tourist visa goes live in Berlin, Germany

Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda recently presented their joint single tourist visa to the world during the just-ended International Tourism Bourse (ITB)  in  Berlin, Germany.  Heads of delegations from the three East Africa Community nations that are part of a tripartite agreement praised the move on the visa, launched three weeks ago by Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda as a bold move that will boost regional integration and ease the movement of tourists across the region. http://www.kws.org/info/news/2014/13march2014.html

Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for East Africa Affairs, Commerce and Tourism Ms Phyllis Kandie said whereas in the past tourists visiting the three countries had to seek separate visas in a cumbersome and costly process, all they needed now was to acquire one visa at  100 US dollars and visit the three states as many times as they wished for  three months.“This will harmonize immigration procedures, help curb cross-border insecurity, enable tourists have a one-stop border check point and generally open the region for more visitors,” she said. 

In a speech read on her behalf by Kenya’s Ambassador to Germany Mr Ken Osinde, Mrs Kandie said by introducing a single Visa, the three countries are signaling their intention to jointly promote the landscapes, wildlife and experiences they are endowed with.“Through this initiative, which we hope will eventually involve all the five partner state of the EAC, we will be highlighting the unique attractions to be found in each country,” she added.

 Mrs Kandie  said  the tripartite arrangement will see the countries have joint stands in international travel and trade fairs. “We ask the world to take notice of this key joint initiative that will see the East African region transform into a destination of choice for many travelers whether for pleasure or business” she said

Uganda’s Minister for Tourism, Wildlife and  Antiquities  Ms Agnes Akiror Egunyu said the single Visa represented the most cost effective offer to tourists in terms of time, money and the variety of attractions to see.

She said tourists will be lodging their applications for the single Visa at embassies, consulates or diplomatic representation and once issued, the holder of an EAC tourist Visa will enter the country that issued it and subsequently move within the other two  countries without applying or paying for Visa.

Rwanda’s charge de affairs in Berlin, Mr Felix Sangano said Rwanda was experiencing  a tourism boom fueled mainly by regional visitors and hoped that with the entry of the single visa, more international visitors will throng the country.“We are extremely excited by this move, count as us to fully support it,” he said.

 Mr Muriithi Ndegwa, the managing Director of the Kenya Tourism Board, said the  region will now be expected to  benefit from an increase in tourists arrivals. “The region is bound to harvest a much larger share of the  over 50 million visitors who come to Africa annually” he said. 

Earlier in the day, Kenya Wildlife Service acting Director General Mr William Kiprono paid a courtesy call on NABU, the German conservation organisation that started a fund to support survivors of Kenyan rangers killed in the course of active duty. He was accompanied by Mr Edwin Wanyonyi the KWS Deputy Director for Strategy and Change and Mr Paul Udoto, the Corporate Communications Manager. 

The delegation was hosted by the NABU Vice President and CEO Mr Thomas Tennhardt who said: “We cannot protect wildlife without rangers yet most support doesn’t focus on their welfare and that of their defendants. We wanted to highlight the plight of rangers and help tell the stories behind their experiences in the field protecting wildlife. 

Mr Kiprono said the initiative was the first of its kind to support frontline staff like rangers and would greatly motivate those who risk their lives protecting wildlife.He thanked NABU for the initiative noting that 10,000 Euros had been disbursed to KWS and would soon be distributed to families to support education of departed rangers. 

Sharon C

www.soinafricasafaris.com