By Wycliffe Magara, Githuku Mungai
A recent study on Kenya’s endangered wildlife species is disheartening. According to the research, 107 species are listed as threatened.
Of these, 16 are critically endangered, 34 are grouped as endangered and 55 as vulnerable. Among the critically endangered species are the black rhino, bongo and hivola antelope.
The study goes on to give more shocking revelations. It shows that in the 1960s we had 20,000 black rhinos but there are only 1,000 left today; there were 15,000 lions in the 1900s but only 2,000 currently; 167,000 elephants in the 1970s but a meagre 3,000 as we speak. Still in the 1970s, we had 15,000 zebras but only 2,300 are left today.
KWS senior scientist Charles Musyoki says among the reasons for this decline, poaching takes the lead. Kenya should learn from Botswana which, last week, adopted a tough stance to shoot and kill animal rustlers to end the menace.
So an elephant is just an animal of the bush that can be killed at will? That seems to be the thinking of a few remaining recidivist poachers in Kenya.
The poachers need to know that, as matters currently stand, the life of those elephants that they value by the ivory hanging from their heads are deemed to be more valuable than the poachers’ lives.
As such, many game wardens are just waiting, only too eager to touch the trigger in the hope that as bullet will enter the body of a person who has been asked so many times to keep off our wildlife but won’t hear.