By Wanjohi Gakio
A 50-year-old elephant has been killed by poachers in Laikipia Nature Conservancy, Laikipia county.
Conservancy director Kuki Gallmann said they suspect a gang of 25 men, 18 of them armed with AK 47 rifles, who were spotted near the area on Wednesday.
The poachers escaped with the tusks of the elephant, which was shot three times.
“The suspects were spotted at 7am in the area leading to the vacated Kamur School,” Gallmann said.
"They were seen by our plumber, who was repairing water pipes shattered by illegal herders."
The team from the conservancy was still looking for another elephant, the companion of the poached one, by the time of going to press.
“I went to investigate an incident when I smelled something while patrolling a forest track. Livestock with armed herders ran from location as my car approach,” she said.
The conservancy has been invaded by illegal grazers from Baringo and Samburu counties over the last nine months.
It has deep valleys that make it easy for poachers to hide.
“Fences have been damaged, conservancy neighbours attacked, property set ablaze and cattle rustling escalated in neighborhood every other day,” Gallmann said.
Investigations by the conservancy team were delayed due to another arson attack on the boundary with Baringo, which destroyed more than 1,000 acres of prime woodland.
"There is a general breakdown of security and proliferation of illegal weapons, both firearms and spears, openly carried by herders," Gallman said.