The Kenya Wildlife Service is pursuing a poaching gang believed to have killed 11 elephants for their ivory tusks.

An entire family of elephants died in the gunfire attack on Saturday, in what was the biggest single mass shooting of the animals on record in the country.

The killings took place in Tsavo National Park, the country's largest single continuous ecosystem home to some 13,000 elephants.

The poachers chopped off the elephants' tusks and carted them away.

KWS believes a gang of ten people was responsible for the slaughter.

Elephant poaching in Kenya declined sharply after 1989 when the government banned trade in ivory.

However, there has been a rise in the illegal practice in recent years.

Demand for ornamental ivory is rising fast in Asia in tandem with growing Chinese influence and investment in Africa.

Poor African villagers can earn vast sums relative to their normal earning power for killing an elephant and taking its tusks.

The Kenya Wildlife Service said foot, dog and aerial units are hunting the gang.