December 5, 2017
NAIROBI: Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) on Monday launched a secure digital radio system to help improve its efficiency in wildlife surveillance in the country and thus protect elephants and rhinos from poachers.
KWS said a 7 million U.S. dollars digital radio system extended to Kenya by the French government is capable of covering a wide area compared to the previous analogue system, besides being configured to send audio and text messages.
"The system has the capability of transmitting data as well as GPS tracking among other features that are set to revitalize wildlife protection and management by KWS," the wildlife agency said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
It said radio system will also help improve communication among security personnel in three KWS conservation areas -- Tsavo, Southern and Central Rift where rampant poaching is.
French Minister for Ecological and Inclusive Transition Nicolas Hulot, who commissioned the digital radio system in Nairobi, said the system is secure with inbuilt encryption and the sound is clearer.
The minister said France is encouraged by the stringent efforts KWS is making to conserve and manage wildlife, noting wildlife security is mainly dependent on timely intelligence communication among security personnel.
Wildlife conservationists have decried the entry of organized crime syndicates into the illegal wildlife trade, most notably of rhino horn and elephant ivory, which they said, has created a crisis situation in many African countries.
Kenya says the wanton killing of elephants, rhino and other wildlife species is having a huge impact on the tourism sector and the authorities have stepped up surveillance on traffickers of ivory.
Heavily-armed criminals kill elephants and rhinos for their tusks, which are used for ornaments and in some folk medicines.