By Raphael Mwadime
At least 55 elephants have been killed in Tsavo and Taita ranches since the beginning of this year, Taita Taveta governor John Mruttu has said.
Addressing hoteliers and caterers at a meeting held at the Sarova Taita Hills game lodge in Mwatate, Mruttu said the continued poaching of elephants and other game will have an adverse impact on tourism in the country.
"The situation is disturbing as three elephants are being killed every week," he said.
However, KWS senior assistant director in charge of the Tsavo conservation area, Julius Kimani, said only 34 elephants have been killed in the region.
Mruttu said improved mobile communication has made the fight against poachers more difficult.
"More poaching is happening in areas where mobile telephone connectivity is good. Before the phones came in, poachers used to hide ivory in villages while finding ways to access their markets but they can now easily call a boda boda and ferry the contraband," he said.
Mruttu said most of the elephants have been killed in private ranches where illegal poachers operated.
Amboseli and Tsavo region association of Hotel keepers and caterers chairperson Willy Mwadilo expressed fears that wildlife was under serious depletion due to poaching.