KWS officers arrest suspected giraffe poacher in Wajir County

Sunday December 3 2017

Suspected giraffe poacher arrested in Wajir.

Suspected poacher Mr Yusuf Bulbale Ibrahim, who was arrested in Wajir County on December 3, 2017. PHOTO | BRUHAN MAKONG | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

By BRUHAN MAKONG
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One of the most wanted giraffe poachers was arrested on Sunday in Elnur, Eldas Constituency, Wajir County, by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officers.

Wajir County warden Joel Kanda said they had been trailing him for 12 months before arresting him on December 3.

ARREST

Suspected poacher Mr Yusuf Bulbale Ibrahim was found with a gun and 14 bullets, and some giraffe parts.

Mr Kanda added that they discovered that he had only used one bullet to kill a giraffe, making him a great threat to wildlife.

“You can imagine how dangerous this person is – he only uses one bullet to kill a whole giraffe, therefore rendering him a great threat to the wild,” he said.

The biggest threat to giraffe existence in Kenya after climate change are illegal hunters who have guns, Mr Kanda added.

Suspected giraffe poacher arrested in Wajir.

Giraffe parts recovered from a suspected poacher in Wajir County on December 3, 2017. PHOTO | BRUHAN MAKONG | NATION MEDIA GROUP

POACHING

Mr Yusuf Abdullahi, a chief from Dhoda Location, said he got reports from the public over the killing of the giraffe.

He then informed the KWS, whose officers pursued the poacher and found him asleep.

Mr Abdullahi added that he had earlier arrested the same man in 2008 and he had a gun, but he was later released.

The arrest comes a week after Wajir County Commissioner John Chelimo expressed concern over increased cases of giraffe killing in the county.

Mr Kanda said that the giraffe population was slowly dwindling in the county because of poaching.

“In less than three months we’ve lost at least four giraffes, meaning in every month one giraffe is killed within the county,” he said.

Suspected giraffe poacher arrested in Wajir.

A gun, bullets and other items recovered from a suspected giraffe poacher in Wajir County on December 3, 2017. PHOTO | BRUHAN MAKONG | NATION MEDIA GROUP

ENDANGERED

The county warden added that they will not relent in their fight against poaching and perpetrators will face the full force of the law.

He urged residents to collaborate with KWS and other agencies to end poaching.

KWS had begun plans to set up a conservancy in Wajir where giraffes would be protected, Mr Kanda said, adding that this would also boost tourism in the county.

He urged Parliament to review the law and name giraffes among species facing extinction.

“We propose that the law protecting giraffes is reviewed since their population is dwindling very fast in the entire country, especially those [that are] outside the government conservancies,” said Mr Kanda.

He added that KWS would continue educating the public on the importance of wildlife.