alexa Self-confessed poacher Kelechi Parkusaa turns himself in - Daily Nation

Self-confessed poacher Kelechi Parkusaa turns himself in

Tuesday December 31 2013

Kereshi Parkusaa surrenders a gun and several rounds of ammunitions to KWS and security officers at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy on December 30, 2013. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI

Kereshi Parkusaa surrenders a gun and several rounds of ammunitions to KWS and security officers at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy on December 30, 2013. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI NATION MEDIA GROUP

 FRANCIS NJENGA
By FRANCIS NJENGA
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A middle aged man confessed on Monday before Kenya Wildlife Service officers, the Mbuuri OCPD and the management of Lewa Wildlife conservancy that he was a poacher and had reformed.

Kelechi Parkusaa, 39, confessed to having killed two white rhinos this year at the Lewa conservancy, Meru County, where he was employed as a Rhino monitor.

He also surrendered a semi-automatic carabine gun and nine rounds of ammunition and said he was ready to collaborate with the conservancy and KWS in the fight against poaching.

Parkusaa said that he had decided to reform after seeing what poaching had done to Lewa conservancy which invests much of its revenue to his Raparua community.

“My heinous deeds to the main income earner to my community and country at large have left me with no peace of mind,” said Parkusaa.

“I have seen poachers get gunned down in this conservancy. I am aware of how much money the conservancy uses to fight poaching which would otherwise be used in development in the community.”

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Parkusaa added: “I am now reformed and will work closely with the government and KWS in guarding our rhinos that has been endangered species by poachers.”

Mr Parkusaa recounted how he acted as an informer to the poachers who killed the rhinos he was employed to guard.

“Today I come to expose why it could be a difficult task to end poaching if employees of conservancies are not properly vetted,” said Mr Parkusaa.

INSIDE JOB

He narrated how he could tell the poachers which rhinos were not guarded and inform them when it was time to attack.

Mr Parkusaa together with other three poachers killed the biggest rhino to ever live in Lewa conservancy early this year and was given Sh300,000.

“I came with them from Isiolo and informed them which side of the conservancy would be guarded,” Mr Parkusaa told the Lewa conservancy management, KWS officers and members of the Lewa community.

He however admitted that the marketing of the of rhino horns was complex and dominated by powerful individuals who remained unknown even to the poachers.

“I am ready to give out the names of my fellow poachers to police. What I don’t know is who bought the horns or where the market is,” Mr Parkusaa said when he was asked to name the players in the plot.

He also surrendered all the property he had bought with the proceeds from poaching saying that he had realised that poaching was only making his life miserable.

Mr Parkusaa's move was first revealed to the elders of his Raparua community last weekend when he approached them and informed them that he was willing to denounce his past.

Kipsoi Ole Kinyaga, the leader of the elders said that that Raparua approached the elders and asked for forgiveness.

It was then that the elders informed the conservancy and Raparua was promised freedom if he surrendered his weapons and helped reach out to the others.

The Lewa conservancy management said that they were ready to give amnesty to poachers who would voluntarily surrender their weapons and cease poaching.

Ian Craig of the conservancy said that the conservancy had lost more than 5 percent of its white rhinos in the last one year.

“We have lost a total of seven rhinos from this conservancy alone this year,” said Mr Craig.

The conservancy is spending Sh85 million in protection of the wildlife; the money which Mr Craig says could be directed to the benefit of community.

He thanked the community for joining hands with the authority to help fight poaching.