Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Ag. Director General, William Kiprono has said that 575 rangers will soon graduate and be deployed to boost Kenya’s’ capacity to address the plight of elephants emanating from poaching, habitat loss and human-elephant conflict.
He was addressing participants at Voi, Taita Taveta County, during World Elephant Day celebration on Tuesday (August 12, 2014).
“Next month, these men and women will graduate and join the ranger force to sustain our effort in conserving wildlife,” he said.
He said that KWS is investing on areas of mutual interest with County governments and communities living in wildlife-inhabited areas to minimize threats posed to Kenya’s elephant population for better protection, improving enforcement policies to prevent the illegal poaching and trade of ivory, and conserving elephant habitats.
He appealed to local communities not to be used by ivory dealers to undertake poaching or transport poached ivory noting that the new Wildlife Conservation and Management Act, 2013 provides for stiffer penalties on offenders.
“We modernizing our security operations, systems and rangers deployment to ensure that our troops embrace latest and appropriate technology in their day to day operations,” he said. “This will enable us achieve high standards of performance and stop any further poaching incidences”.
While addressing the celebration, Taita Taveta Governor, John Mruttu said that his government is working closely with KWS in sensitizing communities on the new law and explore areas of benefit sharing envisaged by the new law.
Other stakeholders who participated in the event included WWF, IFAW, Save the Elephants, Elephant Neighbours, The Tsavo Trust and David Shedricks Wildlife Trust.
World Elephant Day is celebrated worldwide to raise awareness on the plight of Asian and African elephants.
This year’s World Elephant Day was used to educate local communities on the need to protect the elephants, their role in the county and national economies as well as the penalties associated with trophy poaching of elephants and illegal possession of ivory.