Kenyan authorities have gunned down one suspected poacher, arrested six others and recovered guns and ammunition in three different incidents across the country.
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said the suspected poacher was gunned down in Kora National Park in Tana River County in the coastal region and his AK47 rifle plus 27 rounds of ammunition were recovered.
"The poacher was part of an eight-member gang that engaged KWS rangers in a fierce shoot-out. A hot pursuit for the rest of the gang is underway," the wildlife body said in a statement released in Nairobi.
KWS said the second incident took place at Kubisera area in Isiolo County in eastern Kenya where another gang of four suspected poachers were arrested when they engaged a different KWS contingent of rangers.
"Following this encounter, one magazine of an AK47, 50 rounds of ammunition, one axe, one panga (machete) and two elephant tusks were recovered. Interrogations are going on," the statement said.
The east African nation is among countries in Africa where poaching is rampant despite the vice was outlawed in the country in 1977.
Poachers target especially rhinos and elephants for their tusks and skins, which fetch a lot of money in the black market.
Kenya is a popular destination especially for tourists from Europe. The country is known for its great variety of wildlife, which includes elephants, giraffes, wildebeests, lions, cheetah and leopards. These animals are protected in national parks.
The wildlife body said the third incident occurred at Rumuruti in Laikipia County in central Kenya where two suspected poachers were arrested and one 30/06 type of rifle and four rounds of ammunition recovered.
"This recovery of the rifle was done with the support of the local community. Eland meat weighing 30 kg and 3 kg of ivory were recovered from the same suspects," the statement said.
Rhinos are endangered species due to the high demand for their horns. The rhinos that are left are found in small numbers in very few protected areas around the east African nation and in some African countries.
Great conservation efforts have been taking place in Kenya in order to conserve the few remaining rhino populations.
However, even in these protected areas such as national parks, the rhinos still are faced with a huge threat from poachers due to the high demand for their horns that are used in different traditional medicines as well as for making ornamental pieces.