By Wagema Mwangi
Cases of Poaching incidences in Tsavo Conservation area have gone down by 96 per cent owing to improved monitoring and security operations by Kenya Wildlife Service and conservation partners in the region.
The Conservancy Assistant Director, George Osuri has attributed this success to intensified patrols, better coordination amongst the security teams and rangers’ dedication to their work, adding that the government was committed in eradicating the vice to secure the park and give wildlife space to thrive.
The Director was speaking at Lugard Falls on Friday during a Tsavo East National Park clean-up exercise, as a prelude to national celebrations of World Elephant Day on Saturday.
“We have made tremendous progress in thwarting and containing the poaching menace for both big and small games in the park. We intend to escalate our operations to rid the park off this menace,” he said.
The clean-up exercise brought together several conservation bodies, including Tsavo Rangeland Foundation, Tsavo Trust, Friends of Tsavo, Wildlife Works and pupils from primary schools in the region.
The exercise covered a distance of 183 kilometres of park roads and saw over 350 kilograms of garbage collected and disposed.
Osuri said that park visitors had a duty to protect the environment just as the rangers, warning that plastic and other non-biodegradable litter had adverse effects on both plant and animals life.
“We want to urge our visitors to stop dumping papers and cans in the park. They are a hazard to animals,” he said.
The Tsavo conservation area is the largest protected area in East and Central Africa covering an area of over 21,000 km2.
It encompasses Tsavo East and West national park and Mkomazi national park in Kilimanjaro area in Tanzania.
And, according to 2017 aerial elephant census, the area has 12, 866 jumbos.
Meanwhile, KWS has strengthened its patrol teams at the Kenya-Tanzania border to stop poaching groups from the neighboring country to gain access into Tsavo.
Benson Kigo, the Chair of Tsavo Rangeland Foundation, said both local and international partners should join hands to boost KWS’s war against poaching, adding that civic education was needed to inform communities on how wildlife impacted on people’s livelihoods.
“We are engaging the community to bring local people on board in conservation matters, including dangers of wanton littering,” he said.
He identified the area between Voi and Mtito-Andei along Nairobi-Mombasa Highway as having been turned into a dumpsite by travelers using the highway which posed a threat to wildlife in the area.
The World Elephant Day is celebrated globally on 12th of August every year.