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Statement on Elephant Killing in Kenya

Washington, DC – Jan 8, 2013 – In response to the recent elephant slaughter in Kenya, where 11 elephants were reported to have been poached for their ivory in Tsavo National Park, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) issued the following statement from Matthew Lewis, WWF’s African species expert:

“As we approach the one year anniversary of the elephant massacre in Cameroon last year, we are saddened to hear of yet another mass killing of elephants, this time in Kenya. This incident is possibly one of the largest single incidents of elephant poaching in Kenya’s history.

“The epidemic of elephant killings that has ravaged populations in Central Africa is now spreading to Kenya – and that’s troubling because Kenya in recent years has largely had a solid track record of elephant management and protection.

“We must do more to make sure this alarming and sad trend does not continue. We must do everything we can to make sure poachers are brought to justice. Kenya’s weak and antiquated wildlife laws must be modernized as swiftly as possible to ensure that poachers receive appropriately stiff penalties for their heinous crimes.

“We must stop the poachers in their tracks – they are stepping up their game, and we must do the same. We cannot continue to let these massacres happen, or else we risk creating a future where our children will only hear of wild elephants in story books. WWF is committed to helping the Kenya Wildlife Service adopt the latest systems of law enforcement monitoring, and also helping Kenya work more closely with its neighbors to counter regional poaching syndicates. But, we cannot stop there.

“We must also curb the demand for ivory carvings and trinkets. The current demand for wildlife products which is causing these elephant slaughters is largely driven by growing wealth in Asia – most notably from China.

“Learn more about wildlife crime and illegal wildlife trade at worldwildlife.org/wildlifecrime.”

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