By Paula Kahumbu
Despite best efforts we are not winning the war on poaching. A massive seizure of 1.5 tons of ivory in Kenya's port city of Mombasa on 3 July flies in the face of threats against poachers and dealers by the Kenya government, and yet ivory traffickers continue unabated. In the first six months of 2013 more than 7.5 tons of ivory was seized in the country - more than was seized in all of 2012.
By all measures, elephants are much worse off than last year; ivory continues to flow through the country at increasing rates, and the slaughter of elephants is accelerating. The public, CITES, conservationists and the world criticizes Kenya for her failure to match words with actions. The situation is rapidly spiraling out of control.
Kenya has taken many decisive actions. Thirty-two staff including senior officers of the Kenya Wildlife Service were sent home for involvement or suspicion of involvement in driving the crisis, the list of shame includes senior officers in the security department. The government is enacting new legislation, committing additional funds to hire 1,000 new rangers, and private sector has also redoubled their efforts through increasing investment in anti-poaching with special training, more monitoring, drones, sniffer dogs, attack dogs, vehicles, 1000$ worth of remote cameras and aircraft.
Despite these military efforts to stop the poachers, the problem is worsening. As Julius Kimani, Deputy Director of Security in KWS said in a meeting last week:
"We cannot win this war with guns, it is time to explore more intelligent ways of motivating people to stop killing our most magnificent species." More....