IFAW: Expectant elephant speared in Amboseli

AMBOSELI, Kenya, March 21, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In what may be one of the saddest incidences of poaching in recent times, an expectant elephant has been speared to death within the Amboseli ecosystem.

The incident happened on Thursday around 3 p.m. within Oltiani area. Reports indicate that a herd's boy witnessed the elephant going down as it succumbed to its injury and notified community scouts who secured the site as they alerted Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) personnel.

Responding to the incident IFAW's Regional Director for East Africa Mr. James Isiche stated: "This is a double tragedy. The callous poachers did not care that the elephant was pregnant. Their actions were driven by greed to make quick money. IFAW joins other organizations in calling for the President to declare poaching of elephants and rhinos a national disaster. The government should spare no efforts in stopping the poaching menace that is threatening to decimate Kenya's national heritage."

Elephant and rhino deaths due to poaching for their tusks and horns respectively have dominated the news recently.  Conservationists have called on the President to invoke emergency measures to crack down on poachers and place elephants and rhinos under state protection. Failure to do so may lead to the loss of this national heritage within a few years and during the current government's tenure. The President should do all that it takes to ensure that Kenya's elephant and rhino populations are not wiped out on his watch. The increase in poaching occurrences is despite the recently passed Wildlife and Conservation Management Bill which has raised the penalty for offences relating to endangered species to life imprisonment or fines of up to 20 million shillings.

Though no arrests have been made in relation to the incident and investigations are underway, swift action by community scouts within the Amboseli Tsavo Games Scouts Association (ATGSA) ensured that the ivory was secured.

Community wildlife scouts play an important role in preventing poaching, avoidance of human wildlife conflict and, mitigation of environmental degradation. IFAW supports the training of these scouts at the KWS Law Enforcement Academy in Manyani and also provides them with logistical and administrative equipment. IFAW plans to support the training of 30 community scouts in 3 years; 10 of whom graduated in May 2013 with the second batch of 10 expected to enrol in April 2014.

About IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare)

Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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SOURCE International Fund for Animal Welfare



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