This is my second article on this blog precisely delving in to the poaching menace in the country in what I want to imagine is the height of our’poached values’. A part of me feels very strongly against this parochial and selfish acts. Every time I stumble on some news regarding killing of our precious wildlife, am completely shuttered. The big five have brought so much fortune and envy to this country but more importantly we should appreciate wild animals are also sensitive and in fact have feelings. Watching images of their carcasses only makes one sympathise with what must have been cruel deaths.
Why are we wiping out our heritage left, right and center? What will the posterity generation think of us when they ponder on the glaring statistics on poaching? Our biggest flaw is that we don’t give a damn on anything that does not affect us directly. Our so called vibrant youths with acres of energy are never sensationalized by national issues which directly affect the economy of this country. Where is the activism from social media? Our biggest preoccupation is on which socialite stripped where or dates who! Social media is a mirror of our national discourse and Kenyans perfect the art of turning a blind eye to issues which are not sensational. How can we appreciate poaching is at an all time high when even watching news is a problem?
Tourism will sink deeply very soon if we are not cautious but that is not more tragic that telling tales to our grandchildren of the phenomenal wildlife we once had, from the elephants to the rhinos all the way from Masai Mara to Laikipia plains. This poaching madness should warrant the same level of anger we vent to insecurity and high cost of living. Less than two months ago, a 46 year old elephant commonly referred to as the mountain bull by wildlife-conservationist enthusiasts, was killed in Mt Kenya forest last month. This is the same elephant that inspired the ‘Save The Elephant’ charity in October 2012. The six tonne bull made poachers salivate for many years as conservationists outsmarted them for this long. In fact they built a wildlife corridor previously blocked by human development where elephants would move from Mount Kenya forest to the northern rangelands in Laikipia safely, fitted with GPS tracking devices. But it seems poachers had the last laugh after the towering elephant’s carcass was found eight days after its death.
As if that was not enough, another bull was killed mercilessly, a 45 year old elephant in Mulka, Taita Taveta by poisoned arrows and its tusks found missing. More sad news would come few days after, when a renowned conservationists Paula Kahumbu broke the news on twitter about the death of Satao a 50 year old bull arguably the oldest elephant in Kenya killed in Tsavo East National Park. “Of all the elephant deaths that have happened, these are the hardest to bear. The grief in Kenya at the killings is translating into floods of tears, emotional poems, and outrage,” said Paula Kahumbu
We all know China is the biggest importer and beneficiary of ivory tusks from Kenya, but wittingly, instead of banning these products , it gave Kenya a funding to ostensibly go towards anti-poaching fight. And a naive Kenya government humbly accepted it, from where I sit, this is a futile approach and a PR gimmick by China. The same zeal we showed in rallying the entire continent behind us in matters ICC should be applied in fighting poaching. But this will be a tough call since its an open secret that poaching cartels have infiltrated governments of the day, in fact they are as powerful as drug lords in Mexico. My hope is that the United Nations Environmental Assembly that has been going on this week in Gigiri even graced by UN boss Ban Ki-moon will not pass as another mere talk shop. World leaders must step up and also compel governments to do more or face sanctions if they do not curb poaching.