Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Poaching Crisis Escalates with 'Targeted, Efficient' Slaughter of 12 Kenya Elephants

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Poaching Crisis Escalates with 'Targeted, Efficient' Slaughter of 12 Kenya Elephants

Article excerpt

Kenya has suffered its worst single loss of elephants to poachers on record, with 12 members of one family slaughtered and their tusks hacked out in just a few hours last weekend.

Eleven adults and one infant calf died in a targeted and efficient attack highlighting the growing professionalism of poachers bankrolled by international criminals supplying soaring demand for ivory in the Far East. The calf, less than a year old, is believed to have been crushed by its dying mother as she fell to the ground.

It is unimaginable, a heinous, heinous crime, said Paul Udoto, spokesman for the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). We have not seen such an incident in recent memory, its the worst single loss that we have on record, and our records go back almost 30 years. These were professional killers. The attack was targeted and efficient.

The poachers, armed with automatic rifles, had already fled but there were hopes Tuesday that a massive search involving foot patrols, a dozen vehicles, and three aircraft could still find them.

Every possible resource is being deployed to track down these criminals, Mr. Udoto said. They will feel the full force of the law.

view_extra

But privately, conservations fear the poachers and their haul of 22 tusks, worth an estimated $281,000 on the Asian market, would already have escaped following the attack, which occurred late Saturday in a remote corner of Tsavo East National Park, Kenyas largest wildlife reserve.

This was the latest in a surge of elephant deaths that has seen the number of the animals killed for their ivory in Kenya increase sevenfold in five years, from fewer than 50 in 2007 to 360 in 2012, according to KWS figures. Over the past six weeks, 20 elephants have been found dead, with their tusks hacked out, in the Samburu ecosystem of northern Kenya alone. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.