News / Africa

Poachers Kill Elephant Family in Kenya

Some of the elephants killed  by poachers in Tsavo East National Park in Kenya, January 5, 2013. (Credit: Peter Leitoro of Kenya Wildlife Service)Some of the elephants killed by poachers in Tsavo East National Park in Kenya, January 5, 2013. (Credit: Peter Leitoro of Kenya Wildlife Service)
x
Some of the elephants killed  by poachers in Tsavo East National Park in Kenya, January 5, 2013. (Credit: Peter Leitoro of Kenya Wildlife Service)
Some of the elephants killed by poachers in Tsavo East National Park in Kenya, January 5, 2013. (Credit: Peter Leitoro of Kenya Wildlife Service)

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
A manhunt has been underway since the weekend in Kenya for a gang of poachers that killed a family of elephants. The Wildlife Service says 12 of the animals were slaughtered. Poaching is on the rise across Africa as demand grows in Asia for ivory and rhino horns.


Kenya Wildlife Service spokesman Paul Mbugua said at least 10 poachers entered the northern side of Tsavo East National Park. It’s a remote area with little infrastructure. He said the elephants were killed Saturday.

“We learned about the incident about an hour or so later. We mobilized our aircraft and we covered the area, located the carcasses. Realized they had already taken off with the tusks. And so we deployed our men in the general area and we have been combing the area ever since. We are confident they are still hold up within that area because - from the time they killed to the time when we landed in the general area - they could not have left the park,” he said.

Tracking is being hampered somewhat by occasional heavy rainfall.

“But we are still following and we are confident we are going to get to them,” he said.

The Wildlife Service is also confident it knows how many poachers are involved.

“The area is sandy and you can actually count footprints of people walking away. And of course the footprints are of different sizes, so it was easy to tell. Actually, the number was perhaps more than 10. There were not less than 10,” he said.

Mbugua said poaching used to occur only in certain corners of Kenya. Now it’s happening across the country.

“With the lucrative business that is poaching – that is ivory trade – we are having lots and lots of groups of poachers. At any one time, we are aware of various groups of poachers trying to access various parts of the parks and various areas where we have elephants. So, we have an uphill task in containing these groups. We are not dealing with one particular group. There are many,” he said.

In the past, much of the poaching in Kenya was done by Somali militias. Mbugua said the proliferation of firearms has only made matters worse.

He said anti-poaching operations should be increased; and parliament needs to pass proposed legislation handing down tough penalties for poaching. Currently, wildlife crime, he says, is treated as a misdemeanor with small fines.

“Everybody realizes the importance of wildlife as an economic factor. Tourism depends on wildlife and everybody knows that tourism is one of the industries that brings in a lot of foreign exchange to the country,” he said.

Ivory and rhino horns sell for very high prices in Asia. They’re used in traditional medicines and potions.

The Kenya Wildlife Service is calling on China, Vietnam and other Asian countries to do more to end the poaching trade. It said raising awareness would help – telling people that for every piece of ivory they buy an elephant has died.

Mbugua said, “Citizens of the world have a duty of conserving these graceful animals for the benefit of current and future generations.” 

The World Wildlife Fund estimates that in 2011, more than 23 metric tons of ivory were seized by authorities. That figure, it said, represents 2,500 dead elephants.

You May Like

Mugabe Dismisses Male-Female Equality

'It is not possible that women can be at par with men' incoming African Union president declares on eve of summit More

Somali Terror Suspect's Light Sentence Raises Questions

Abdullahi Yusuf, 18, could have spent 15 years in prison but judge instead sentenced him to a halfway house, and a program to try to integrate him back into the community More

Video Kobani Ravaged Following Kurdish Ouster of IS Militants

Even so, hundreds of refugees sheltering in Turkey seek to return; Kurdish forces hold some back, saying fighting continues More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Goghi
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid