Wildlife troopers shot dead three armed men in Kenya’s Mount Elgon National Park on Wednesday, while two other suspected poachers were injured but escaped, the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said.

“The officers were on routine patrol inside the park when they encountered five poachers, two of whom were armed,” KWS said in a statement.

Poaching has declined sharply in Kenya from a peak in 2012, but it remains a problem, with some 69 elephants and nine rhino killed last year.

Earlier this month, three rhino were found dead with their horns missing in Meru National Park’s Rhino Sanctuary, in what Kenya’s tourism ministry said was an act of poaching.

Three months earlier, a prominent American investigator of the illegal ivory and rhino horn trade was found dead in his Nairobi home with a stab wound in his neck.

A conservation group said Esmond Bradley-Martin, who had spent decades tracking the movement of animal products from Africa to markets in Asia, was about to publish a report exposing how the ivory trade had shifted from China to neighbouring countries.