In the last thirty days two rhinoceros have been poached, one within the Nairobi National Park, the largest national park of its kind in the world. The park shares a border with the city of Nairobi. Until this event, local wisdom was that the park’s proximity to Nairobi and close monitoring by Kenya Wildlife Service would bode well for wildlife, especially the rhinos. Apparently not. Any weakness in wildlife security continues to be exploited by the bad guys.
Yesterday the Standard, one of the major newspapers in Kenya, reported two elephants were killed outside the Maasai Mara Game Reserve this week. The elephants had wandered out of the sanctuary only a few meters when they were killed and their tusks removed. Suspects have been detained.
Depending on the magistrate, penalties for poaching are harsh when compared to a year ago. If the elephant and rhino populations can hold out a little long maybe the poaching will be curbed and elephants will continue to be seen on public land. With out stronger oversight and deterrent, the awe-inspiring sighting of free roaming elephants is likely lost for ever. So far KWS and those responsible for the security of wildlife in Kenya have not pronounced any change in the slaughter. Despite worldwide efforts, high demand for ivory continues. The battles to save these iconic animals is far from won.