13 November 2012

Kenya: Punish Poachers - Conservationists

Photo: Lauren Everitt/AllAfrica
Elephant in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya.

CONSERVATIONISTS have called on the government to severely punish poachers whom they accused of being responsible for the recent increase deaths of elephants.

In the last few weeks, several elephants have been killed in various game parks and their tusks removed. Speaking at the Taita Wildlife Sanctuary, Senior Warden Richard Obanda said poaching has increased because the law "is too lenient on commercial poachers".

“Commercial poachers have a lot of money. They use their people on the ground to kill the elephants and they pay them little money. They are well connected and they will always have it easy shipping the elephants' tusks outside Kenya,“ he said.

Obanda said even those people who poach small animals like Gazelles and Dick Dicks for meat should be severely punished "because they will later start poaching big animals".

“We are happy to report that here at the Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, no elephant has been killed in the last four years. We have managed to curb poaching by working with the communities around here. We encourage them to report poachers,” said Obanda.

Obanda said that apart from asking the government to punish commercial poachers, wildlife stake holders are also thinking of partnering with the Ministry of Education to include in the curriculum wildlife issues.

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