By Milton Onyango
Plans that will see members of the local community join hands with security apparatus to stem the rising cases of elephant poaching in Mt Elgon ecosystem have intensified.
The interventions, initiated during a stakeholders’ consultative forum at Kapsokwony on Monday that roped in members of the Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Forest Service, security apparatus and area residents, will see a raft of urgent measures aimed at curbing the poaching menace take effect .
Speaking at the forum ,Bungoma county commissioner Maalim Mohammed disclosed that five elephants had been killed by poachers in Mt Elgon since January of this year and expressed alarm that more animals could be lost if urgent measures were not taken.
This formed the precursor of the Monday meeting which presented a platform for stakeholders to chart the way forward towards sustainable solutions in combating wildlife crimes and addressing natural resource management challenges in Bungoma and Trans Nzoia counties.
The commissioner said local communities should be involved in combating wild life crimes adding the government has strengthened the legislative framework including recent enactment of anti-poaching and wild compensation bills.
Governor Kenneth Lusaka who graced the forum termed as unfortunate reports of growing cases of poaching in the area saying it will affect eco-tourism which he noted had been identified under the integrated development plan among the key sectors to drive the county’ s economic progress.
According to Mt Elgon Snr Warden Colins Omondi, an inter-agency operation to smoke poachers from their hideouts in the forest was underway with the meeting proposing that the operation is attended cross-boundary and ropes in the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
If adopted, some of the measures will also see the Shamba system being practiced in the region re-evaluated and activities of the local Community Forest association (CFA) suspended until measures are put in place to sanitize their operations in the area. More....