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KWS steps up anti-poaching drive, arrest 37 poachers

By Peter Mutai (Xinhua)

14:13, November 22, 2012

NAIROBI, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's wildlife rangers have stepped up anti-poaching operations across the East African nation with the arrest of 37 more suspected poachers who are in police custody.

A statement from KWS issued in Nairobi on Wednesday said during the raid which was conducted across the country, 38 kg of ivory, two rifles and 77 rounds of ammunition including game meat weighing 472 kg were recovered in the past one week.

The agency said a gang of four suspects escaped with injuries following a gun-fight with KWS rangers in Meru National Park on Nov. 12.

"The rangers were in patrol when they encountered the gang, believed to be on a poaching mission in the park, when the shoot- out ensued," KWS said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

"A rifle with 56 rounds of ammunition and three magazines of assorted rifles were recovered. The suspects are being pursued in the neighboring villages."

Rampant poaching is continuing despite KWS introducing the Canine Unit with sniffer dogs on a 24-hour basis at the Jomo Kenyatta in Nairobi and Moi International Airport in Mombasa to detect movements of illegal ivory.

The unit has since 2009 netted more than 10 tonnes of raw and worked ivory.
This, according to the wildlife agency, has effectively led to reduced smuggling of illegal trophies. Plans are at an advanced stage by KWS to also introduce sniffer dogs at the Eldoret International Airport as well as other exit and entry points.

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