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KWS ranger dies in an anti-poaching operation
Date Published: 29 Aug, 2012
A Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) ranger has been shot dead in a fire fight with suspected poachers at Kadengo area in Trans Nzoia County on Friday (August 24, 2012).
Rangers had encountered the poachers slaughtering an elephant in the dense forest while on patrol when the shoot-out ensued.
Two AK 47 rifles, five rounds of ammunitions and assorted poaching weapons were recovered. A body believed to be of a poacher who escaped with injuries during the fire fight has also been recovered on Monday (August 27, 2012). Two others who escaped with injuries are being pursued in adjacent areas. 33 suspected poachers have also been arrested across the country in the past one week.
In Makindu area, a poacher was arrested and a leopard skin recovered on Wednesday (August 22, 2012). An estimated 2500 heads of cattle were driven out of Tsavo National Park and five suspects arrested on Thursday (August 23, 2012). KWS rangers also arrested three suspects, recovered 25 kilograms of Waterbuck meat in Tudani area in Kitui County.
Meanwhile, a new study report published by American researchers, Interpol Working Group on Wildlife Crime and the Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF) says they have successfully identified Zambia as the origin of ivory seized by Singapore authorities in June 2012 using DNA technologies.
Following the discovery, the Zambian government has significantly improved their anti-poaching efforts.
A total of 531 pieces of raw ivory and 42,000 hankos tusks (small solid ivory cylinders used to make individual seals for letters) were found in the shipment en route from Malawi. The cargo was weighing 6.5 tonnes.
KWS recently commissioned the construction of a wildlife forensic and genetics laboratory at its headquarters in Nairobi. The lab is envisaged to help investigators connect exhibits to specific poaching incidents. Furthermore, the facility will help track genetic status of declining wildlife populations, determine isolated and special gene pools that require special protection and enhance disease diagnosis, surveillance and monitoring.