The war against poaching has move a notch higher with an additional nine custom-made land cruisers being deployed to the anti-poaching elite crack Unit. The Unit is comprised of security personnel from the general Service Unit, Administration police and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).
KWS Acting Director General William Kiprono flagged off the nine Land Cruisers at KWS headquarters during a ceremony attended by among others KWS deputy directors, managers and staff at headquarters on May 23, 2014.
In August last year, the government directed that a joint inter-agency anti-poaching elite crack Unit be formed to reinforce KWS security operations and help combat the poaching menace.
At the same time KWS has formed an elite Rapid Response Unit (RRU) to work alongside the anti-Poaching elite crack Unit in readiness to take over at the lapse of the one year tenure of the crack Unit.
KWS Acting Deputy Director, Security Robert Muasya said the vehicles will enable the elite unit cover a wider range than before and have been deployed as follows:
- Two based in Narok
- Two based in Tsavo Conservation Area
- Two in Laikipia
- One to be used in Nakuru National Park by Rapid Response Unit rangers
- One to be used in Nairobi National Park by Rapid Response Unit rangers
- One to be used at Tsavo River in Tsavo West National Park.
“These vehicles will enhance operations carried out by the inter-agency anti-poaching elite crack unit and all security companies in the areas of deployment”, Mr. Muasya said.
Mr.Kiprono thanked the Ministry of environment, water and natural resources for supporting KWS in its operations, especially in operationalizing the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act 2013 which became operational in January 10, 2014.
The cabinet Secretary for environment, water and natural resources, Prof. Judi Wakhungu, in a message read on her behalf by the Ag. Director General said, “I am delighted today as we officially flag off these nine vehicles to boost the momentum of our on-going war against poaching that had hitherto threatened to decimate our national heritage”.
Prof. Wakhungu added that the government is aware of the magnitude of the challenge posed by poaching, especially of rhinos and elephants.”We acknowledge that wildlife security threat is a global phenomenon that has largely been driven by the high demand for ivory and rhino horn in the Asian Countries.” She said adding, “the Government has demonstrated its commitment to combat poaching challenges and guarantee security by procuring the nine vehicles”.
She urged KWS to continue working with other law enforcement agencies, especially National Intelligence Service (NIS), Customs, the Kenya Police Service, Interpol, Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF), Immigration Department and Kenya Airports Authority, among others; in ensuring that local and international laws on wildlife crimes are enforced.