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The Bill Jordan Wildlife Defense Fund, formerly Care for the Wild, responded to an urgent plea for help from KWS following the blood shed in Tsavo East National Park, Kenya over the Easter holiday period. We immediately transferred funds for fuel for a spotter plane to help KWS pursue a gang of armed poachers after they shot 10 elephants dead in Tsavo East National Park, hacked off their tusks and buried them half a kilometer away. According to Mr. Kioko, KWS director, "A serious shootout ensued and one poacher was shot dead. One G3 rifle and a total of 216 rounds of ammunition were recovered. Also a rifle propelled 9 grenade was recovered".

BJWDF has been active in Tsavo East National Park for a number of years - we built a headquarters for KWS rangers complete with aircraft hanger for a spotter plane at Ithumba last year. This new large-scale poaching comes at a worrying time, after an elephant count in January 2002 revealed that two thirds of the elephant population had moved into Tsavo East National Park. CFTW has launched an appeal to raise even more funds to help them step up the fight against poaching amid reports that even more elephants have been poached up in the Samburu district. CFTW Founder, Dr Bill Jordan said, 'Elephant poaching in Kenya is clearly on the increase. We have witnessed this worrying trend before other CITES meetings when re-opening of the ivory is being discussed. CITES had got to re-introduce a total ban on the trade in ivory, otherwise we risk seeing a return of the blood bath of the 1980s when poachers wiped out half of Africa's elephants'.

KWS acting director Mr. Kioko released a statement warning of the inaccuracies of some press reports including elephant mortality rates in the Samburu District and he confirmed, 'Between 18/2/2002 to date...5 elephants have been confirmed poached, while 3 more elephants have died of natural causes'.

In a previous statement referring to the poaching incident in Tsavo he warned, "This and previous other incidents in Kenya suggest that the ivory markets are active and poachers are actively feeding the illegal trade in ivory. We are concerned that African elephants in countries like Kenya are threatened by existing ivory markets in South and South East Asia as a survey of ivory markets revealed the presence of African ivory markets in some countries (Martin and Styles, 2002)...KWS also sends out an urgent appeal to donors and well-wishers to assist with funds to finance continued and increasing anti-poaching needs in Kenya'.