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Three poachers who had snuck into Kenya's Mt Elgon National Park were killed on Thursday, it has been announced.
The poachers, who it is reported were from Uganda, had illegally entered the park with the intention of killing elephants and removing their tusks.
A shootout between them and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) wardens who were patrolling the grounds broke out and three of the five poachers were gunned down.
"KWS officers were on patrol inside the park when they spotted the poachers," County Commander Samson ole Kine told Kenyan newspaper The Standard.
"A fierce shootout ensued and three of the poachers were gunned down while two others escaped. AK-47 rifles were recovered."
Kine told the paper that the incident lasted more than 30 minutes and that none of the park's wardens were injured in the shootout. Just as importantly, no elephants were killed either.
Although the trade of ivory has been illegal since 1977, poaching is still a huge problem in Kenya. In March 2002, the largest poaching incident in Kenya took place, when a family of 10 elephants was killed.
While African elephants are no longer critically endangered, thanks to conservation and anti-poaching measures, they are still listed as 'near threatened' - the second level of concern for world-wide animal species, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Sadly, poachers are still trying their luck, despite increased security brought in to guard animals against them.
County Commissioner Erastus Mbui told The Standard that, in order to deter poaching activities, security surveillance had been intensified along the Kenya-Uganda border.
"More officers have been deployed to conduct regular security patrols at the park and ensure wildlife is protected from the poachers," he said. "We urge communities around the park to report people they suspect to be on a poaching mission."
Hopefully, this latest incident will act as a severe deterrent, too.
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