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Tue Jan 27 05:24:55 SAST 2015

Kenyan rangers hunt poachers behind mass elephant slaughter

Sapa-dpa | 08 January, 2013 07:48
Elephants at a game park in Kenya.
Image by: THOMAS MUKOYA / REUTERS

Rangers from a Kenyan safari park were chasing a gang of poachers suspected of slaughtering a family of 11 elephants in the south-east of the country over the weekend.

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said an estimated 10 hunters were being pursued by rangers and dogs on the ground as well as by anti-poaching aircraft teams after the mass elephant killing, which took place on Saturday.

"The entire family of 11 elephants have been confirmed poached and tusks chopped off. All the carcasses had bullet wounds," KWS said in a statement on its website.

The elephants were killed in the Bisadi area of Tsavo East National Park, part of a 22 000-square-kilometre arid bush reserve that covers 4% of Kenya's land mass and is home to an estimated 13 000 elephants.

This month, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) said the illegal ivory trade is at its highest in nearly two decades, driven by demand for Chinese medicines.

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