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KWS steps up anti-poaching drive, arrest 37 poachers (3)

By Peter Mutai (Xinhua)

14:17, November 22, 2012

"Four suspects were arrested in Taita Taveta County in connection with the spate of poaching in the neighboring conservancies adjacent to Tsavo National Park. KWS has stepped up anti-poaching operations to rein in on the situation in the area," it said.

KWS has listed elephants, lions, wild dogs, leopards, cheetah, hyenas, Sitatunga, Tana crested mangabey, and Tana red Columbus monkeys as some of the most endangered wildlife species in Kenya.

The number of wild animals in Kenya has reduced drastically, threatening the existence of one of the country's major attraction to tourists, who bring most of foreign exchange, new data released by the KWS indicates.

One of the most affected wildlife species is the lion whose number has reduced by about 1,000 between 2002 and 2008 threatening to wipe off one of the country's largest wild cats.

The country had 30,000 lions in the 1960s when it gained independence from Britain but poaching, drought and human-wildlife conflict have seen the population drop drastically.

Most of the lions in Kenya are found in Maasai Mara that host 825 of them followed by Tsavo National Park with 675 lions, 230 lions in Laikipia and 40 in Meru National Park with the rest distributed across the country.

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