In Summary
  • The shooting of the rhino in the heavily guarded Nairobi park illustrates how easily poachers are decimating the country's large animals

NAIROBI

Poachers have slaughtered a rhino in Nairobi National Park, officials said Sunday, as the brazen attack came despite tough new laws designed to stem a surge of such killings.

Amid a wave of rhino and elephant killings across the country, the shooting of the rhino in the heavily guarded park - the headquarters of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) - illustrates how easily poachers are decimating the country's large animals.

"Nairobi National Park is one of the best protected areas, so it is a really shocking thing for us," KWS spokesman Paul Udoto told AFP.

"The rhino horns were hacked and taken away... investigations are underway."

Kenyan courts have for years had their hands tied by laws that limited their powers over those convicted of wildlife crimes, but a new wildlife act signed into law this month has provided far stiffer penalties.

Previously, punishment for the most serious wildlife crimes was capped at a maximum fine of Sh40,000, and a possible jail term of up to 10 years.

Some smugglers caught in Kenya with a haul of ivory were even fined less than a dollar a piece.

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