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SOS Rhino : In the News : Kenyan Rangers Tragically Killed by Poachers in Battle to Protect Elephants

Kenyan Rangers Tragically Killed by Poachers in Battle to Protect Elephants


From International 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 who were 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 one of 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 (, 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 in Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda and six months after the U.N. Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) meeting in Santiago, Chile last 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 added.

" 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 take on 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

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