Nairobi - Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) claimed local statistics defied the rampant poaching of elephants and rhinos in the country.
KWS has said that 18 rhinos and 51 elephants had been lost to poachers this year.
KWS Director, William Kiprono, said the numbers of elephants and rhinos in Kenya were still high and among the highest in the world.
According to him, last year, the country lost a total of 59 and 302 rhinos and elephants respectively compared to 30 rhinos and 384 elephants in the previous year.
He said that the increase in the problem of poaching in Kenya and the rest of Africa was a consequence of growing demand and high prices being offered for rhino horn and elephant ivory in the Far-East countries as ready market continued to spur illegal sale of ivory and rhino horn.
Kiprono said that the government had placed wildlife security on top of its agenda by including KWS in the National Security Advisory Council.
“This is also shown by its (government’s) Rapid Results initiative which cuts across all national security and law enforcement agencies including the National Police Service, National Intelligence Service, Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Airports Authority and Kenya Ports Authority,” he said.
In respect to smuggling of wildlife products using Kenya’s ports, he said that law enforcement officers, in collaboration with other agencies, seized 13, 5 tonnes of contraband ivory at the port of Mombasa last year.
“The majority of smuggled contraband ivory had entered Kenya from neighboring countries. There has been a decline in the desire by smugglers to use Kenyan ports to smuggle contraband ivory since we heightened surveillance there and with the enactment of a more punitive new wildlife law,” said Kiprono.