A conservation group has raised an alarm over the rising animal snares in parks and private ranches. They claimed hundreds of animals are killed or maimed by poachers hunting for game meat or hides. “The sheer scale of the problem threatens the viability of wildlife across vast areas. Furthermore, bush meat may represent a hidden health risk to humans who consume it,” said Will Travers, head of Born Free Foundation, a conservation group. Thriving bush meat trade threatens conservation in national parks.
Elephants with their trunks amputated and lions left to die slow and painful deaths are increasing becoming common in Kenya. Travers was speaking after a de-snaring campaign in Maanzoni and Kunza ranches in Machakos at the weekend. More than 200 wire traps were seized in two days. He commended the Kenya Wildlife Service, which has a de-snaring team, and called for stiffer penalties for poachers.
KWS and conservation groups have complained court penalties are lenient. Born Free called on the public to boycott game meat because of its impact on wildlife. The meat is popular in Naivasha and around parks where it is often cheaper than beef.
Poachers mostly use home-made wire snares, home-made bows and arrows, some with poisoned arrow heads. Animal species targeted include dik dik, zebra, hartebeest, wildebeest, eland and giraffe.
Born Free conducts monthly operations near Machakos to locate and destroy snares. Machakos is part of the dispersal area for Nairobi National Park.