By Irene Muchuma
NAIROBI, The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) says incidents of poaching within the Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks have been reduced by 98 per cent with the country recording 100 elephants’ deaths last year.
Kenya is home to 35,000 elephants with the Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks in Taita Taveta County hosting 12,000 of the animals, making it the county with the highest number of elephants in Kenya.
The two national parks occupy 62 per cent of the land area in Taita Taveta County which is situated in a region which bore the brunt of elephant poaching in previous years after losing close to one thousand elephants each year.
Those unfortunate losses prompted environment stakeholders to up their game in protecting the elephant population there.
According to KWS Assistant Director Captain Robert Obrien, poaching with guns has been reduced by 100 per cent with poaching using other means cut by 98 per cent.
In 2014, Kenya lost close to 1,000 elephants to poachers, including one of Africa’s largest elephants famed for his giant tusks and aged around 45 years.
KWS Chairman Richard Leakey attributed the development to stiffer penalties meted out to poachers. In the middle of this year, Taita Taveta County will conduct an elephant census with the Kenya Wildlife Service lobbying for improved mechanisms to achieve accurate results.
Tourism remains a key pillar for Taita Taveta County’s economy.