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Extinction haunts Kenyan elephants: 62 die in 5 months

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Extinction haunts Kenyan elephants: 62 die in 5 months

No fewer than 62 elephants have died between August and December 2021 due to drought.

In other to cushion the effect of drought, the wildlife ministry was preparing to build water pans in national parks to avoid more deaths.

Addressing parliament, the Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said the elephants were lost between August and December 2021.

“Through August to December, 62 elephants have died due to drought. We are rushing to build water pans in our parks including Tsavo that is most affected,” Mr Balala told the National Assembly’s Committee on Finance.

He said the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) lacks sufficient resources to put up water pans in the drought-affected areas.

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“We as the Tourism Promotion Fund (TPF) are currently considering a request from the State Department for Wildlife of Sh200 million for the establishment of water pans, drilling of boreholes, dams and provision of water in Tsavo National Park,” Mr Balala said.

African News reported that Mr Balala said the Fund, meant for tourism promotion activities would intervene and allocate monies for the provision of water services to starving wildlife.

“We are considering the requests given the loss of 62 elephants due to drought within a period of four months,” Mr Balala told the committee.

Mr Balala said revenues generated by the KWS dropped from Sh4 billion annually to Sh1 billion following the Covid-19 economic fallout.

“We are struggling to pay their salaries and we are working to achieve our objectives as a sector,” Mr Balala said.

The Parliament, had last year, directed the National Treasury to set aside Sh3.2 billion to cover salaries and operations of KWS staff following the decline in revenue collection from park fees on account of coronavirus.

The State Department for Wildlife had warned that KWS would collect about 20 per cent of the projected Sh4.6 billion annual revenue from park fees due to reduced tourism activities caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The prolonged drought has taken a heavy toll on wildlife conservation activities in counties hardest hit by famine.

In February this year, a senior official for the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation stated that drought has caused the death of 1.5 million livestock and drastically cut cereal production.

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South African serial rapist gets four life imprisonment terms

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A South African serial rapist and killer, Philani Justice Nkosi, has been sentenced to four life imprisonment terms by a Mpumalanga High Court for rape and murder.

The court also sentenced the 35-year-old to 15 years imprisonment after he was found guilty of murdering one of his victims who recognised him.

Nkosi was sentenced on Friday after the court found him guilty of one count of murder, three counts of rape and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson, Monica Nyuswa, who expressed satisfaction with the sentence, said Nkosi committed the offences between 2014 and 2018 in Bhuga Trust and Halfway Trust in KaBokweni.

“In one incident which stands out, the accused attacked a 12-year-old victim while she was on the way to the local shop. He dragged her to the nearby bush, raped and strangled her to death,” Nyuswa said.

“He also raped another woman in March 2016, stabbed and robbed her of cash.

“The accused continued with his crime spree until December 2018 when he raped an adult woman who was on her way home from work.

“The matter was reported to the police, and the accused was subsequently arrested and linked to other crimes through DNA,” Nyuswa said.

Nkosi who pleaded not guilty to the crimes, claimed the two rape survivors were prostitutes and that the deceased was his girlfriend.

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Tanzanian court sentences 11 people to death for killing South African conservationist

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A Tanzanian High Court has sentenced 11 people to death after they were found guilty of killing a South African conservationist, Wayne Lotter, who was murdered in Dar es Salaam in 2017.

The convicts include nine Tanzanians and two citizens of neighbouring Burundi.

The victim was a renowned anti-poaching activist who was singled out by the convicts for disrupting their illegal poaching activities, according to prosecutors while testifying in court on Friday.

State prosecutors told Judge Leila Mgonya that the 51-year-old Lotter who was based in Tanzania, was a founder of the PAMS Foundation, an NGO which worked to stop the poaching of elephants and trafficking of ivory in the East African country.

He was shot dead in Dar es Salaam when the taxi he was travelling in was ambushed and though the exact motive for his killing is still unknown, his colleagues believe he was singled out for his work on protecting elephants, local media reports.

While handing down the death sentences, Judge Mgonya said there was compelling evidence that linked the 11 to the two counts of conspiracy to commit murder and murder on which they were charged

“Some of the suspects, in their statements recorded by police officers, confessed to have taken part in the conspiracy meetings and in killing. The evidence provided was strong enough to convict them,” the judge said.

Tanzania is one of the worst hit African countries in terms of elephant poaching, with a data released early this year noting that more than 66,000 elephants have been lost in the last 10 years due to the activities of illegal poachers.

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