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Elephant Losses Increase in Kenya

  • Thursday, January 1, 1998

Rumors of increased elephant poaching around Africa have circulated for the last year and have now been confirmed in at least one location. Reports from the area around Lewa Downs on the Laikipia plateau in central Kenya indicate a loss of 23 elephants in the last year compared to a total of 11 for the previous four years.

Conservation experts have given several explanations for the increase--growing lawlessness in the region combined with the availability of weapons from nearby Somalia, weakened enforcement capability in the cash-strapped Kenya Wildlife Service and a decision to possibly allow a limited sale of ivory from government stockpiles in three southern African countries beginning in March 1999.

"It is critical," says AWF President R. Michael Wright, "to determine quickly whether this is an isolated situation or an early warning of an emerging problem elsewhere in Kenya or other parts of Africa."

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