The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) says a heartbreaking video clip of members of the public fatally hacking an elephant was recorded on June 21, 2018, when the incident happened.
On Tuesday morning to evening, social media was filled with Kenyans’ comments and posts calling out the wildlife protection agency for sleeping on the job, resulting in the preventable death of the jumbo.
Twitter and Facebook users alleged that the incident happened recently, claims that KWS denies.
In a press statement dated Tuesday, November 19, KWS’s acting head of corporate communications, Ngugu Gecaga, said the incident happened in June last year in Imenti, Meru County.
Below is the agency’s official statement:
“KWS investigations indicate that this is an old video that took place at Ncooroiboro-Imenti Forest in Meru on June 21, 2018. This location is 71 kilometers from the nearest KWS station in Meru. The incident was reported as a case of human-wildlife conflict to the station, and KWS personnel were deployed immediately to the scene. This incident was reported to KWS occurrence book OB Number 05/21/6/2018.
“On arrival, they found a dead elephant inside the farm. On inquiring what had happened, they were informed that two elephants had raided the farm after breaking through an electric fence.
“The residents came out with pangas, axes and machetes to chase away the elephants. One elephant managed to escape back into the forest. However, the second one fell into a large deep hole created by the removal of a tree stump, broke its leg and was unable to run away. Residents managed to catch up with this elephant and hacked it to death. By the time KWS [officers] arrived at the scene, the elephant had already escaped.
“The video clip currently being circulated was not presented at that time, hence follow-up was not conclusive. However, now that KWS is in possession of the video, the culprits will be pursued and arrested with the help of local authorities.”