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Africa wildlife conservationists want poaching declared a national disaster

Saturday, March 23, 2013 - 00:00 -- BY MORAA OBIRIA

WILDLIFE conservationists have protested against the rate of poaching in the Kenyan parks.

Through the  African Network for Animal Welfare, the conservationists say unless poaching is stopped, Kenya's wildlife will be extinct in the near future. This will be bad for the economy because wildlife and tourism earn Kenya a lot of revenue.

“The poaching rate is currently  too high and we are afraid that if this continues we will no longer have what local and international go to enjoy seeing in the parks across the country,” said  Anaw chief executive officer Selisha Chandra in Nakuru on Thursday during an anti-poaching walk.

Chandra said that according to Kenya Wildlife Service statistics, 384 elephants and 19 rhinos  were killed in 2012. In the same year 200 zebras were hunted for  bush meat in the Loita reserve.

“In the Maasai Mara game reserve itself, there were more than 149  elephants poached while  in Samburu game reserve 154 of them were also hunted by poachers.” said Chandra.

The conservancy agency has asked the government to declare poaching a national disaster. This will help save the animals in danger of being killed by poachers.

Chandra demanded the implementation of the Wildlife Act, 2011 that has stringent rules and regulations for the protection of wildlife.

In order to protect the straying wildlife from being killed by the communities surrounding the parks, she urged the KWS to actively involve them in safeguarding their lives.

“The surrounding community also play a major role in informing the KWS of poachers so that they can take a prompt security measure to nab them before they attack or kill the animals,” added Chandra.

Meeanwhile,Lake Nakuru National Park senior warden John Wambua said the community involvement around the park has enabled them reduce the number of poaching activities in the premium park famed for taming more than  450 bird species.