Kenya has banned the hunting of elephants and trading in ivory in any form. People?
Kenya has banned the hunting of elephants and trading in ivory in any form. People who hold hunting licences have been requested to surrender them. There has even been a suggestion that elephant trophies may be confiscated.
While government sources claim there is no danger of its elephant population, the world's largest, becoming extinct, there is alarm at the rise of hunting permits requested over the last few years.
In 1971, only 500 permits were issued; in the first six months of this year, there were almost a thousand. Yet, if the official figure of about 2000 elephants killed a year, out of a population estimated at over 50,000 is correct, conservationists need not be alarmed.
But David Sheldrick, Warden of Tsavo East National Game Park, fears that if poaches are not contained, the elephant will become extinct. By official figures, Ivory exports in the first three months or 1973 represented about 1200 elephants a month killed, a huge discrepancy from the number officially killed under licence.
A great part of the poaching is carried on by local tribes, who coat arrows with a home-made vegetable poison. They trail wounded elephants till they fall. The high price of ivory makes it difficult to stop poaching. Kahya's official export figures jumped from GBP 96,000 in the first quarter of last year, to GBP 745,000 in the first three moths Of 1973.
Mr. J.K. Mutinda, Kenya's Chief Game Warden, blamed the importing countries for not passing legislation to compel the origin of game trophies being legally certified.