News of elephants slaughtered in Tsavo West reignites poaching crisis

The cruel killings of five elephants came only a day after President Barack Obama left KenyaIn yet another poaching incident fueled by the voracious demand for ivory in the East, five elephants – a female and what appears to be her offspring – were ruthlessly killed and their tusks hacked off this week in Kenya’s Tsavo West National Park.

It is appears that the perpetrators of this heinous crime sawed the ivory into small pieces and loaded them in sacks before allegedly fleeing across the border into Tanzania. The good news is that two suspects have been arrested and Kenyan and Tanzanian authorities are collaborating in the search for the other suspects.

The killings came a day after President Barack Obama left Kenya where he pledged support from his government to fight wildlife crime particularly in the United States which is the second largest consumer of ivory after China.

When meeting with civil society groups including representatives from conservation organizations, President Obama highlighted the bilateral talks with the Asia Pacific region to formalise trans-Pacific partnerships on trade. The US is encouraging the Asia Pacific countries, where demand for ivory is highest, to embed within trade agreements legislation against wildlife trade. While elephant poaching may have gone down considerably in Kenya in recent times, elephant populations are still at risk due to the increasing demand for ivory.

In addition to policy enactment, the importance of a security intelligence apparatus to fight wildlife poaching and subsequently wildlife trade cannot be overlooked. IFAW, in its efforts to ensure that elephants are protected before the poaching incidences occur, has initiated the tenBoma project to counter wildlife criminal networks. Working in collaboration with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), tenBoma will ensure that KWS rangers are able to identify poaching associated indicators and patterns that will enable KWS to intercept poachers prior to them getting to elephants.

IFAW also undertakes demand reduction through consumer awareness campaigns particularly in China and other Asian countries where demand for ivory is highest.

--JI

Urge the USFWS to finalize the ivory regulations to fight the poaching crisis in Africa.

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