By Raphael Mwadime, Raabia Hawa
Eleven elephants have been killed in the Tsavo conservation in the past two weeks. Three male elephants aged between 35 and 40 years were gunned down at Mbale and Kalonzo ranches in Tsavo while eight carcasses were last week found by rangers in Ndara.
Julius Kimani, the Kenya Wildlife Services senior assistant director in-charge of Tsavo Ecosystem, said poachers hacked off the elephants tusks. He blamed the increase in poaching in the private ranches adjacent to Tsavo National Park to herders whom he said are armed with sophisticated guns.
Kimani said KWS has strengthened its law enforcement capacity and enhanced collaboration with other security agencies to address poaching. He said the elephants were killed when an operation led by Coast police boss Aggrey Adoli to flush out illegal herders began.
Most of the herders do not have documents to show that they have leased the ranches, said the police boss. Mbale group ranch was on the spot light last year following many cases of poaching on the 40,000 acre land.
"The herders are the main culprits in the poaching menace in Tsavo. We call upon the government and ranchers to flush them out because most of them are poachers but disguise as herders and kill our treasured elephants," he told the Star on the phone yesterday.