Kenya's elephants slaughtered in new poaching frenzy

The family of 12 elephants in Kenya, on Saturday. Credit: ITV News

A family of 12 elephants are the most recent victims of a new epidemic of poaching sweeping Kenya, and Africa.

A gang stuck the Tsavo National Park in Kenya, one of the largest elephant sanctuaries in the world, and slaughter the animals, hacking off their tusks. The incident is the worst recorded ivory poaching incident in the history of the country.

Africa Correspondent Rohit Kachroo reports. The film contains upsetting images of dead elephants.

According to the Kenyan Wildlife Service and International Fund for Animal Welfare, the trade in ivory, fuelled from Asian countries such as Japan and the rapidly prospering China, has increased to epidemic levels over the past few years.

Read More: China Correspondent Angus Walker on the growing demand for ivory.

Last year almost 34 tonnes of ivory was seized across East Africa:

  • Around 34 tonnes of ivory was seized in 2012.

  • Nearly 85 per cent of all ivory seized had come from or passed through East Africa.

  • The number of animals that died for their tusks doubled in less than two years to approximately 360 in 2012.

The Kenya Wildlife Service said they were confident of catching the 10 poachers who are alleged to have killed a family of elephants in Tsavo National Park.

It is unclear what the Kenyan Wildlife Service will do to the poachers if they do find them. The group said they had gunned down two suspected poachers during a shoot-out on Tuesday, January 8 in the Mlango area in Isiolo.

At least 40 poachers were killed last year as rangers battled the raiders.

Charities are calling for a return to a full ban on the sale of ivory, and for authorities to address the involvement of international criminal gangs being involved in the trade.

Greater education for consumers might also help to stem demand, according to campaign group Dirty Ivory, a survey in China showed that almost 70% of the public thought ivory did not come from dead elephants, but that it fell out naturally, like teeth.