Just a week since President Kenyatta signed the new Wildlife Bill into law on Christmas Eve, poachers have struck at the Solio Conservancy in Central Kenya and killed another rhino, from available details the last in 2013.
Information only came to light now, probably due to several sources in the area away for the holidays, that on Monday night several poachers cut the fence at Solio, shot one rhino with a poisoned arrow to evade detection had they used a rifle, and then cut off the fallen animal’s horns before making an escape.
Under the new law, when caught, they can expect long prison terms and heavy fines but were seemingly not deterred by this prospect, a sign that it apparently still pays to slaughter a rhino for financial gains.
While some conservancies appear to have the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) rangers attached to them, have others turned their own rangers into police reservists, allowing them to carry and use guns and engage poachers without having to wait for the arrival of law enforcement officers and other security personnel. Several poachers were shot dead in the last few weeks of 2013, again apparently not a deterrent as yet for others who continue to butcher Kenya’s prized wildlife to satisfy the greed in the Far East for rhino horn and blood ivory.
The Ol Pejeta Conservancy will be the first to introduce aerial surveillance using a UAV, aka as a drone, in due course and other conservancies as well as KWS are likely to follow suit once the operational reliability of these ‘eyes in the skies’ has been established.