By Wolfgang H. Thome
The Kenya government has reportedly ordered the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to audit security arrangements at the country’s private conservancies and sanctuaries, following the report of another Eastern Black rhino being poached earlier this week on one of them.
While the response from conservationists was generally positive, several argued the case that it was in fact the Kenya Wildlife Service which needed auditing and tighter controls, and there in particular a new board, as under the very noses of the KWS bosses two rhinos were killed in the Nairobi National Park and several more in the Nakuru National Park. “Supporting and assisting conservancies in their security measures is in principle a good idea of course. An audit can establish any potential gaps in the security arrangements and I personally only hope that this does not open the door to unlimited meddling by KWS in conservancy affairs under the pretext of ‘security,’ a phrase we hear often enough in Kenya to justify all sorts of infringements. That said, I think that KWS itself must be independently assessed over their preparedness to fight poaching. There have been too many incidents in the parks with elephant and even with rhinos, so singling out conservancies sort of smacks of bias and suggests ulterior motives and a hidden agenda,” said one regular source over the course of several mails yesterday afternoon.
In a related development it was learned that Dr. Richard Leakey, a former Executive Director of the Kenya Wildlife Service and renowned conservationist, and Dr. Paula Kahumbu, Director of Wildlife Direct and founder of the Hands off our Elephant campaign, will hold a press conference in the morning at the Nairobi Serena Hotel starting from 11 am, to deal with the urgent need to competently and comprehensively deal with the unfolding poaching crisis in Kenya, which swept into the country from Southern Africa like the proverbial tsunami.