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Government forms special crack-unit to curb poaching

Date Published: 08 Aug, 2013
Government forms special crack-unit to curb poaching

The Principal Secretary for Environment, Water and Natural Resources Dr. Richard Lesyiampe, flags off part of the Elite Inter-Agency Anti-Poaching Unit at the KWS headquarters during the launch of the unit. Looking on is Hon. David Mwiraria, KWS Board of Trustees Chairman (left) and the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, Conservation Secretary, Mr. Gideon Gathaara (centre).

The Kenyan Government has formed a special inter-agency crack-unit to combat poaching in the country.

The anti-poaching unit named the Elite Inter-Agency Anti-Poaching Unit comprises of security officers from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), the Administration Police (AP) and the General Service Unit (GSU).

The special unit, which shall be under the command of KWS, will undergo a joint training at the KWS Law Enforcement Academy (LEA) at Manyani before deployment to poaching hotspot areas of Narok, Tsavo and Isiolo.
In a speech read on her behalf by the Principal Secretary for Environment, Water and Natural Resources Dr. Richard Lesyiampe, during the unveiling of the unit, the Cabinet Secretary Prof. Judi Wakhungu said that the Government has now taken the fight against poaching a notch higher.
“Urgent and decisive action now needs to be taken to eliminate the escalating poaching crisis which has now become both a national and economic issue”, Prof. Wakhungu said
The Cabinet Secretary added that the Government has committed to provide facilitation and equipment to support the Elite Inter-Agency Anti-Poaching Unit operations. The Government shall also deploy aerial surveillance support to enhance their capacity to deal with poaching incidents.
Already the Government has established an Inter-Agency Task Force to advice and coordinate wildlife security management interventions across the country.
While flagging off the Elite unit, Dr. Lesyiampe said that the fight against poaching was no longer a KWS affair and appealed to every Kenyan to help the Government curb the menace. “The message we are now sending out is that poaching has to come to a stop”, The Principal Secretary reiterated.
The unit will be supported by the governments of Kenya, Unites States, China and the United Kingdom through their respective embassies in Nairobi.
A total of 190 elephants and 34 rhinos have been killed so far this year while KWS has lost two rangers in encounters with poachers. However, plans are underway to recruit an additional 1000 KWs rangers to overcome these challenges and effectively tackle poaching.
KWS has also adopted a multi-faceted approach to eliminate the poaching vice. The organization has actively engaged communities living next to wildlife sanctuaries through conservation education on the negative impacts of poaching. Consumers of illegal wildlife products, both local and international are being sensitized on their indirect contribution to poaching by buying such products. KWS also urges the Judiciary to mete out deterrent sentences to smugglers of wildlife products.