By Aislinn Laing
Up to 20,000 elephants were killed last year in Africa, and those left are still vulnerable because of the demand for ivory, mostly from Asia, which generates up to £12billion a year
It is a very different scene from the House of Commons or the Whitehall office where Owen Paterson works.
Dressed in a safari jacket and cream chinos, sweat beading on his forehead, he bats away flies and tries not to inhale too deeply as he stands feet away from the hulking corpse of a slain elephant.
Its hind legs are crossed in a last defensive gesture, its swollen eyes are clamped shut, its ears have been chewed by scavengers — and its tusks have been removed.
The elephant is just one of the tens of thousands slaughtered by poachers across Africa this year to feed a growing demand in Asia for ivory.
The rhinoceros population is faring little better — one animal dies every 11 hours, and there are just 25,000 left in Africa because their horns are erroneously thought to cure cancer.
Mr Paterson, the Environment Secretary, was last week deep in the Kenyan bush because he has taken up cudgels on behalf of the British Government, which believes that poaching — and the illegal trade in ivory — must be stopped.
Last week, he announced that British paratroopers in Kenya would be seconded to give wildlife rangers extra training. A British prosecutor will also advise her Kenyan counterparts. The cost to British taxpayers will be minimal, and locals say both initiatives will fight poaching. More....