Kenya to use drones to fight poachers

2014-03-26 05:30

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Nairobi - Kenya plans to deploy surveillance drones to help fight elephant and rhino poachers and has introduced stiffer penalties for offenders, officials said on Tuesday.

Poaching has risen in recent years across sub-Saharan Africa where well-armed criminal gangs have killed elephants for tusks and rhinos for horns that are often shipped to Asia for use in ornaments and medicines.

"We will start piloting the use of drones in the Tsavo National Park eco system, one of the largest national parks in the world," said Patrick Omondi, deputy director for wildlife conservation at the Kenya Wildlife Service.

Omondi said the surveillance aircraft would be imported, but did not give details of how many or at what cost.

Tsavo National Parkin the southeast is Kenya's largest, with sweeping plains and occasional water holes dotted with wildlife, including elephants.

"We attribute the problem of poaching in Kenya and other African states to growing demand and high prices offered for rhino horn and elephant ivory in the Far East countries," William Kiprono, Kenya Wildlife Service's acting Director General told a news conference in Nairobi.

Kiprono said Kenya had lost 18 rhino and 51 elephant to poachers so far this year. Last year, 59 rhino and 302 elephant were killed, compared with 30 rhino and 384 elephant in 2012.

Kenyan officers seized 13.5 tons of ivory at the port city of Mombasa last year, mostly originating from other countries in the region. At least 249 suspects have so far been arrested this year and prosecuted for various wildlife offences.

In January, a Kenyan court convicted a Chinese man of smuggling ivory and ordered him to pay a $233 000 fine or serve seven years in jail in the first sentence handed out since Kenya introduced a new anti-poaching law.

Conservationists hope the new law, which allows for longer jail terms and bigger fines, will deter criminal networks.

Kenya has emerged as a major transit route for ivory destined for Asian markets from eastern and central Africa.

The government says poaching is harming tourism, a major foreign exchange earner.

Read more on:    kenya wildlife service  |  kenya  |  east africa  |  conservation

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.