Ag. Director General KWS Mr. William Kiprono has advocated for sustained awareness campaigns on the plight of the rhino during a ceremony to mark this year’s World Rhino Day on Monday (September 22, 2014) at Nanyuki town, Laikipia County.
He also sought application of deterrent severe penalties for poachers and dealers in rhino products to robustly tackle the current high poaching threat to rhinos. 26 rhinos has been poached this year compared to 59 in year 2013.
In a speech read on his behalf by Deputy Director Species Conservation and Management Mr. Patrick Omondi, Kiprono said that all of the world’s rhino species are under threat, mostly from poaching for their horn.
The horn is mainly used for traditional Eastern medicine. However, rhino horn does not have any proven medicinal properties.
“This day is therefore dedicated for actions and activities to raise awareness and let the world know that we care about the plight of rhinos,” he said.
There is currently an alarming rise in the number of rhino being killed in Africa affecting both the Black Rhinoceros and White Rhinoceros population. The three Asian species, the Greater One-horned rhinoceros, the Sumatran rhinoceros and the Javan rhinoceros are also threatened by habitat destruction.Kiprono said that KWS is committed to combat this vice by modernizing its security operations, systems and troops deployment.
“Will ensure that troops and field operators use modern equipment and embrace the latest and appropriate technology in their day to day operations to stop any further poaching incidences,” he said.
KWS, County governments, private and community sanctuaries have been working together to minimize threats posed to rhinos. Cumulatively, Aberdare’s National Park, Solio, Olpajeta, Oljogi, Lewa, Borana and Illngwesi host more than half of Kenya’s rhino population currently estimated at 1041.
Other stakeholders who participated in the event included local communities, County Government of Laikipia, World Wide Fund for nature (WWF), Laikipia Wildlife Forum (LWF), African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) and Association of Private & Community Land Rhino Sanctuaries .
World Rhino Day, now in its fifth year, is a global phenomenon, uniting NGOs, zoos, cause-related organizations, businesses, and concerned individuals from across the globe in demystify the myths on use of rhino horns and to diminish the demand for the horn.http://www.kws.org/info/news/2014/30sept2014.html