A suspected poacher linked to the death of a 12-year-old black rhino in Kenya’s Lake Nakuru National Park has been charged in court.
Aden Abdi Mata was charged on Thursday with being in possession of processed ivory, but denied the charges before Naivasha Magistrate Martin Mutua.
Mata received a second charge of being in possession of an illegal firearm, and has been released on a bond of Sh500,000. His case will come up for mention on 22 August.
The man was arrested by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officials on Tuesday night, and six pieces of curved ivory plus a rifle were recovered from him.
He was nabbed in the nearby Naivasha area, a week after the dead rhino was found by rangers on patrol at the park in Nakuru.
“He was arrested under the jurisdiction of Naivasha although he is suspected to have committed the offence in Nakuru,” according to Hassan Barua, the Nakuru County Police Commander.
Paul Udoto, the KWS Corporate Communications Officer said: “The rhino was killed on 30 July by poachers suspected to have sneaked into the park, killing the rhino before chopping off its horns and taking off with them.”
There are only about 5,400 black rhinos left in the wild. The majority of the black rhino population is concentrated in four countries: South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Kenya – with Kenya hosting about 20% of this population.
Poaching in Kenya is treated as an economic crime and penalties include a Sh20m fine or life imprisonment, or both.