Three poachers were killed in a firefight last week after a wildlife patrol caught them trying to hunt elephants.
The incident took place last Thursday (May 31) at the Mt Elgon National Park in Kenya where a shootout ensued between the group of poachers and the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) who were on patrol.
It is believed the poachers, who intended to hunt and kill elephants for their ivory, were from Uganda. It is believed they snuck into the park prior to the fateful shooting.
Speaking to The Standard County Commander Samson ole Kine said:
KWS officers were on patrol inside the park when they spotted the poachers. A fierce shoot-out ensued and three of the poachers were gunned down while two others escaped. AK-47 rifles were recovered.
Kine also added no one from the KWS patrol was injured in the deadly shootout which lasted for more than 30 minutes.
Prior to the shootout, in a bid to deter poachers from entering the wildlife park, security was beefed up along the Kenyan-Ugandan border, according to County Commissioner Erastus Mbui who also spoke to The Standard.
More officers have been deployed to conduct regular security patrols at the park and ensure wildlife is protected from the poachers. We urge communities around the park to report people they suspect to be on a poaching mission.
Recently the KWS transported two lions and a hyena to the Kitale Nature Conservancy in an attempt to boost the declining tourist numbers.
While elephant hunting has been banned in Kenya since 1973, along with the ivory trade, it still hasn’t put off poachers looking to capitalise on a lucrative – yet ultimately cruel – industry.
The elephant population was estimated to be around 275,000 by the late 1970s, however, the population dropped dramatically to an estimated 20,000 in 1989, by then a worldwide ban on the trade in ivory was issued. Before then, Kenya had lost more than half of its elephants between 1970 and 1977.
The US lifted bans on the import of big-game trophies in August 2017, including elephant tusks and lion hides, from certain African countries.
In November 2016, suggesting the decision would help boost conservation efforts, Trump reversed the previous ruling made by former president Barack Obama, which banned the remains of elephants killed in Zambia and Zimbabwe from entering the US.
The Endangered Species Act states, in order for such trophies to be approved, exporting countries must demonstrate hunting enhances survival of a particular species in the wild.
Essentially, by reinvesting the money into conservation efforts.
Under the US Endangered Species Act, African elephants are listed as ‘threatened’ and due to poaching, population figures have declined by a massive 111,000 in the last decade.
A provision in the Endangered Species Act means the government is able to give permits to those wanting to import trophies if they can provide evidence hunting helps with conservation efforts for the species in question.
An official from the US Fish and Wildlife Service told ABC News they had new information from officials in both Zambia and Zimbabwe which has enabled the reversal of the ban.
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]