China and Vietnam are reluctant to enact strict laws to stop their citizens from purchasing elephant tusks and rhino horns from Africa. The two countries provide ready market for game trophies.
Kenya Wildlife Service senior assistant director Patrick Omondi said efforts to engage the Chinese to enact strict laws have become futile.
"This is an international crime. The Chinese value their Panthers. If you kill a panther, you will be sentenced to life imprisonment. But they buy a lot of elephant tusks from Africa," he said.
Omondi was speaking at a Nairobi hotel during a forum to curb poaching. Participants blamed the recent increase in poaching on weak laws across Africa.
"There are always delays in prosecution. The justice system is too low and there is no consistency in law," said Hector Magome, the managing executive Conservation Services in South Africa. "Some poachers are fined very little in certain regions of the country and others fined highly in other regions."
The participants resolved to push for harsher punishments for poachers in Africa and China and Vietnam to enact strict laws to stop the trade of ivory and rhino horns. South Africa loses 450 rhinos every year to poachers and Kenya loses five per cent of its rhino population.