Published: Sunday 15 September 1996

-- A series of elephant killings has exposed the lack of adequate measures for protecting wildlife at the Amboseli National Park which borders Tanzania. The latest victim was discovered less than 1.6 km inside Tanzania on August 14, even as the Kenya Wildlife Services held a celebration to mark its 50th anniversary. Earlier, another elephant was found dead close to the headquarters of the park.

Despite a hunting ban on elephants in a 13 km-wide buffer zone in Tanzania, where the tuskers often wander in search of food, there has been an upsurge in illegal hunting and poaching of Amboseli's semi-tame elephants. Some of the big tuskers are more than 50 years old and have been closely studied for 25 years. The buffer zone was set up following the slaughtering of five elderly male elephants in 1994.

In the past six weeks up to eight male elephants have been killed, and two others are missing. Conservationists have reacted angrily at the recent spate of killings."That thousands of dollars have been budgeted for the 50th anniversary celebrations while field staff are inadequately resourced is outrageous," said Richard Leaky, former director of Kenya Wildlife Services.

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