According to Kenya’s Wildlife Service (KWS), there are about 100 elephants killed each year in Kenya by poachers. For that toll, 11 poachers have been killed in March and April. Five of those poachers were killed Saturday April 21st in a 40 minute firefight with rangers that left two rangers hurt; one suspect escaped alive.

At the site in West Pokot County in western Kenya, rangers recovered three AK-47 rifles and 110 pounds of elephant tusks, according by reports from the BBC and Fox News. Recently, Kenya has taken a more aggressive stance against poaching to combat more aggressive efforts by poachers. KWS spokesman Paul Udoto said that rangers are determined to make poaching “a high-cost, low-benefit activity.”

So far this year, six rangers have lost their lives to poachers. Elephant ivory is often smuggled to Asia for use in ornaments, while Africa dually faces a rhino poaching problem. Rhino horns are sawed off and smuggled to Asia for use in medicine believed to cure cancer.

Photo: Nonprofit Organizations (flickr)

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