Kenya: KWS probes death of two elephants in Kereita forest

Mar 7, 2024 | News

By Gilbert Koech, The Star

wo elephants were discovered dead at Kereita forest in what the Kenya Wildlife Service termed as retaliatory killing.

Carol Jemimah from Kijabe Environment Volunteers group reported the deaths in Muiru section of the forest.

She said the incident came to her attention on Sunday. Jemimah said the jumbos might have been killed earlier.

KWS director general Erustus Kanga told the Star on Tuesday that investigations were underway.

“Kereita is part of the Aberdare, where we have Plantation Establishment and Livelihood Improvement Scheme (Pelis). Our vets have suspected poisoning,” Kanga said.

Pelis is a system where the Kenya Forest Service allows forest adjacent communities, through community forest associations, to grow crops during the early stages of a new forest plantation.

Cultivation is often allowed to continue for three to four years until the tree canopy closes. The Pelis scheme is meant to improve the economic gains of participating farmers while ensuring the success of planted trees.

The scheme has been used to establish forest plantations in Kenya since 2007.

Kanga said KWS is mapping out for questioning all the people who have farms around the area where the two jumbos died.

“It is just poisoning because they were raiding the farm. Investigations are ongoing as the guys there were complaining that the elephants were raiding their farms,” Kanga said.

He warned that poisoning wildlife is not allowed. The tusks of the two jumbos had been hacked off.

“We are getting the tusks, don’t worry. We already have information. There is nobody who can get the tusks out of this country.  We are telling communities they should stop because there is nowhere to sell the tusks. We have already closed all the markets,” Kanga said.

The KWS director general said human-wildlife conflicts were getting out of hand and taking on a different dimension of retaliatory killing using poison.

“We are raising resources to make sure that we can educate and provide awareness to communities that they have to coexist with these animals,” Kanga said.

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