KWS receives microchips, scanners to help protect wildlife

2013-10-16 23:36:03 GMT2013-10-17 07:36:03(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

NAIROBI, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) on Wednesday received 1,000 microchips and five scanners from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to strengthen the monitoring of rhinos whose population has recently dwindled rapidly.

The equipment worth 15,300 U. S. dollars will help the East African nation's wildlife agency in monitoring the endangered species as well as auditing stockpiling rhino horns.

"This new technology will ensure that every marked rhino in the country is traceable. In addition, every rhino horn will be tracked globally and matched to the rhino from which it was taken, " KWS said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

"In this way, investigators will be able to link any poaching case to a recovered or confiscated horn. This forms crucial evidence in court contributing towards prosecution's ability to push for sentencing of a suspected rhino criminal. The technology will also expose and provide new insight into the rhino horn trade chain."

KWS said these technologies will expose the rhino horn trade chain and facilitate the dismantling of the networks that promote and sustain the international wildlife trade.

Both KWS and WWF have over the years continued working together to ensure that Kenya meets the CITES CoP16 rhino decisions that seeks to ensure rhinos remain viable and able to survive current and future threats.

KWS says rising demand for ivory and rhino horns in Asia has caused a poaching crisis in recent years across Kenya in particular, with over 1,000 rhinos killed on the African continent in the past 20 months.

Kenya has also lost 21 rhinos and 117 elephants to poachers since the beginning of 2013. Out of these elephants, he said, 37 were killed in protected areas while 80 were outside protected areas.

"With poachers getting more sophisticated in their approach it is vital that conservation efforts embrace the use of more sophisticated technology to counter the killing of wildlife," KWS said. The agency said the deployment of specialized rhino horn tracking systems combined with forensic DNA technology will allow for 100 percent traceability of every rhino horn and live animal within Kenya. This, KWS said, will serve to strengthen rhino monitoring, protect the animals on site and also support anti-trafficking mechanisms nationally and regionally. The agency has also described poaching as an assault against Kenya's national heritage and warned poachers that KWS was determined to protect and conserve wildlife at all costs.

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