Kenya to try anti-poaching technology

Jan. 14, 2013 at 6:22 PM

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Kenya's wildlife agency says it plans to install an alarm and notification system around some parks and wildlife sanctuaries in an effort to combat poaching.

Kenya Wildlife Service officials said they hoped the system, connected to fences around selected reserves, would help reduce poaching by up to 90 percent.

If an animal interferes with the fence or if someone tries to tear down or slip through the fence, the alarm will sound and will also send a text message to wildlife rangers who can then converge on the affected area, the British newspaper The Guardian reported.

However, putting the alarm system in all Kenyan parks is impractical since the costs would be extremely high and some parks and sanctuaries are not wholly fenced in, officials said.

"Some parks are very big and the idea would only work in conservancies, which have a much smaller land area," Patrick Omondi, head of the species department at the wildlife service, said.

Tsavo National Park, where an entire family of elephants was recently killed by poachers, is about the size of Belgium.

Kenya lost more than 360 elephants to poaching last year, government figures show.

Across Africa more than 1,000 rhinos and more than 1,000 elephants were lost last year, the victims of poaching driven in large part by demand in Southeast Asia for animal parts considered to have medicinal properties.

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