The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said Wednesday (September 10th) that the number of animals killed by poachers in recent years is declining and that the “poaching menace was under control”, Kenya’s Daily Nation reported.
“Statistics show a decline in poaching cases since 2012 and there is a different trend contrary to what some lobby groups have been portraying,” KWS Director William Kibet Kiprono said.
“Kenya is doing far better as recent census show increase in wildlife numbers, compared to other countries such as Uganda and South Africa who had to deploy their military forces to fight poachers,” Kiprono added.
Kiprono cautioned conservation groups against using “alarmingly manufactured figures” to depict a poaching crisis in Kenya, warning that it would hurt the country’s tourism industry and suggesting it was a means of attracting donor funds.
“Our sustained efforts in dealing with poaching cartels have been successful and I can say the worst is now behind us,” he said. He said that studies show a drop in animal deaths since 2012.
“Up to the end of last month, Kenya had lost 116 elephants and 26 rhinos to poachers. Comparatively, we are winning this war because in 2012 we lost 384 elephants and 30 rhinos while in 2011, some 289 elephants and 29 rhinos were killed,” he said.
The lobby group Kenyans United Against Poaching (KUAPO) has gathered 20,000 signatures on a petition asking President Uhuru Kenyatta to declare poaching a national disaster.
The petition is now before the parliamentary committee on environment and natural resources.
In an unusual demonstration of solidarity, two Kenyan newspapers earlier this month dismissed KWS claims that poaching is under control as false, pressuring the government to declare a national disaster.