Six elephants gunned down - for what?

Early in the morning of Friday 25th of April a call was received from a KWS Officer

Early in the morning of Friday 25th of April a call was received from a KWS Officer. Gunshots had been reported the evening before in the private ranches south of Tsavo East National Park and the Kenya Wildlife Service were requesting aircraft coverage to confirm their suspicions.   Immediately the Trust's Cessna 185 gets airborne, heading south. The plane makes a quick stop at a rough bush airstrip on the ranches to pick a KWS Officer before proceeding to the area where the gunshots were heard and Kenya Wildlife Rangers are already on the ground combing the area.   As the plane arrives the Rangers report that they have just found two fresh carcasses. This is confirmed from overhead one adult female elephant, shot in the head, tusks hacked out. Nearby lies her calf, shot but still alive. From the air it is evident the calf has spent hours struggling, a large circle drawn in the sand by its body as it fought to get up. Its tusks are only about four inches long, not worth the poacher’s time to remove. The KWS rangers put the young elephant out of its suffering.

  The area is patrolled both from the air and by the Rangers who are onto footprints.  Soon four more fresh carcasses near a waterhole are spotted. One adult female, tusks hacked out. Beside her lie three smaller carcasses, one a juvenile with its face hacked off, its small tusks gone. The other two are young calves, one so young it has no tusks at all. The other one's tusks were still intact, also about four inches long.
  From overhead the KWS teams are guided to pick up possible tracks.   The KWS rangers have spent the last twenty-four hours following up on footprints and leads and by late afternoon they had contact with the poachers. The KWS operation is ongoing so more details at this sensitive time are not forthcoming.  

Yet again we are confronted by the graphic reality of six elephants gunned down for their ivory. The poachers struck in the evening, when light is poor so that their getaway is made easier. They gunned down the entire family and and then checked to see what their killing reaped. They were not selective, just greedy. They didn’t even make sure their victims were dead as ammunition is valuable.   The Far East’s insatiable thirst for ivory is what causes this unspeakable suffering, if the demand stopped so would this senseless killing.    

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