More gruesome news emerged overnight that the last of the famous Samburu matriarch elephant, named Khadija, was shot and killed for her tusks, as President Kibaki prepared to light the fire under 5 tons of blood ivory at the Manyani KWS training camp last week.
The same female elephant had already been treated weeks earlier for a bullet wound sustained during an attempt to kill her but survived that ordeal only to be fall victim now to a band of ruthless criminals.
Poaching in Samburu, but also elsewhere inKenya, has reached new heights in recent months, driven by exploding demand in particular from China where a ‘new prosperity’ has rekindled the greed and hunger for the ‘white gold’, which is then transformed into intricate carvings, displayed at the residences of the nouvelle riche in a blatant display of status and power.
While China has for years now failed to strengthen domestic legislation in regard to import, processing and possession of ivory and other wildlife products, Kenya is according to the wildlife minister in the final stages of amending the wildlife act, introducing harsh financial fines and long term prison terms, although it is still not clear when these amendments will come to parliament, where members are busy arguing over the tax demands and have already a huge backlog of bills to clear, demanded by the new constitution and with deadlines creeping ever nearer. Meanwhile have conservationists demanded that government introduce a shoot to kill policy for poachers, in the absence of legislation being strengthened until now, to provide a sufficient deterrent to the criminals engaged in poaching, that they will lose their lives when found by security patrols and anti poaching units.
Compiled by Jackie