Kenya: Declare Poaching a National Disaster


The Star

Date Published
THE Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources is resisting calls to declare poaching a national disaster.
According to the ministry, the number of elephants, rhino and other wildlife killed has not reached alarming enough proportions to warrant the declaration.
This was contained in a report presented to the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources in Parliament on Wednesday. Our wildlife is being poached at a devastating rate.
But the government’s position is that wildlife sector NGOs are exaggerating the problem to support their international fundraising efforts. Kenya has 1,041 rhino and 35,723 elephants.
One elephant or rhino killed is a crisis. Tens killed every week is a catastrophe. How many elephants does the Kenya Wildlife Service want dead before it accepts the gravity of the problem?
Rangers need appropriate equipment and facilitation to do their work. The ministry itself has admitted that some poachers have superior firepower.
The same KWS recently gleefully released statistics to back claims that more wildlife was being poached in private ranches and conservancies than in national parks and reserves within its purview.
For Kenyans, it is immaterial where elephants and rhino are killed. What is important is that the killing stops. And if declaring a national disaster is what it will take for the problem to be mitigated, them this should be done.