- The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officials have reported the arrest of 12 people found with two rhino horns as well as over US$ 8,000 in cash, believed to have been part of the illegal transaction.
Officials of KWS said that the suspects were arrested in connection with poaching of a 10-year-old female rhino at the Mugie rhino sanctuary in Laikipia West District last week.
The KWS Director Julius Kipng’etich told the media that the suspects would be appearing in court soon facing charges related to poaching as well as dealing illegally in the sale of the horns.
“We hope they will be arraigned in court this (Monday) afternoon,” he he told the media.
According to the KWS six of the suspects were intercepted in Baringo East district in a four-wheel-drive vehicle carrying two rhino horns weighing a total of 7.2 kgs believed to belong to the poached animal.
Dr Kipng’etich said a follow up raid was conducted and subsequent arrests were made.
Kenya had a population of about 20,000 black rhinos in the 1970s, but due to poaching the numbers had reduced to less than 300 by the mid 80s.
According to Dr Kipng’etich, Kenya aims to conserve at least 700 black rhinos in the wild by next year with a long term vision of at least 2,000 animals in the wild.
“With continued commitment and concerted security and scientific efforts, this vision will be achieved in 25 to 30 years,” he said.
Poaching has lately become a concern in Kenya and other countries in the region, such as South Africa and Zimbabwe where rhino poaching has been on the increase.
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