Three suspected poachers were gunned down at Aberdares National Park after a fierce exchange of fire with KWS rangers on Sunday night.
An AK-47 rifle, two rounds of ammunition, a spear, an axe and a weighing machine were recovered from the suspects.
Paul Udoto, Kenya Wildlife Service communications manager, said the agency has intensified patrols and intelligence information gathering within the Aberdare ecosystem.
The surveillance was heightened since the poaching of an elephant at the park on May 12, 2016.
“For the last three days, KWS security personnel have been following up intelligence about a gang of three men reportedly out to execute another poaching within the park,” Udoto said.
He said KWS officers were tipped off on Sunday while following up on the previous incident.
“At about 6.30pm, a team of two armed rangers were informed that the 3-man gang had already gained entry into the park through the electric fence at a point near Mitero guard post,” Udoto said in a statement on Monday.
He said the two rangers moved swiftly to the area and traced the movement of the three men deep inside the park.
They would lay an ambush in one of the routes frequently used by poachers in the park.
“When the suspects were challenged to surrender, they opened fire forcing the rangers to respond killing the three,” he said.
The deceased were identified as Lazarus Kanyiri Kaheho, 33 years-old, from Tetu and Erastus Kagara from Mwiyogo location in Nyeri County.
“The bodies, of which the third is yet to be identified, were taken to Nyeri Level Five mortuary,” Udoto said.