Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)
Thursday, May 15, 2003
(Nairobi, Kenya - 15 May 2003) - The
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has reported the loss of two rangers
gunned downed by a
gang of poachers in Tsavo East National Park last Sunday. The KWS
security team is currently combing the park through ground and
aerial operations in pursuit of the poachers suspected to be from
Kenya's neighbouring war-torn countries. Two of the poachers were
also killed in the fierce battle.
This incident has saddened and
angered conservationists worldwide, including the International
Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW-www.ifaw.org),
which has been supporting KWS's anti-poaching and law enforcement
operations since 2000.
The KWS rangers killing incident comes
barely a month after seven elephants were butchered by poachers
Park in Uganda and six months after the U.N. Convention on the
International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) meeting in Santiago,
November. In the CITES meeting, three Southern African countries
were granted provisional approval to sell 60 tonnes of their ivory
stocks after May 2004.
As long as there is a market for ivory, the lives of elephants and
the rangers who protect these magnificent creatures will always be
at risk," said KWS Director Michael Wamithi while paying tribute
to the commitment and valour of his fallen staff. "Kenya remains
opposed to the resumption of commercial trade in elephant products
and favours non-consumptive forms of wildlife utilisation," he
IFAW is saddened by the slaying of the two rangers whose commitment
and lives cannot be quantified. We will continue to support KWS in
their anti-poaching and law enforcement efforts to protect elephants," said
James Isiche, IFAW Regional Director for East Africa.
All those who supported the possible resumption of ivory sales
at CITES need to be aware of the tragic toll these decisions
both elephants and people," said Dr. Chris Tuite, IFAW Wildlife
and Habitat Programme Director.
IFAW has partnered with KWS in
anti-poaching and law enforcement efforts in Meru Park and plans
to support the enhancement of security
operations in the Tsavo ecosystem in the near future.
For more information
on IFAW's global campaign to protect elephants and how you can
help, visit www.ifaw.org.
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