4 January 2013

Kenya: Poaching Gangs May Soon Control Country

Photo: Kevin Walsh


THREE more rhinos have been poached in Nanyuki. 2012 was a very bad year for elephant and rhinos in Kenya. Thousands were poached although KWS has not released the exact numbers.

Poaching is now as bad as it has ever was in the 1970s and 1980s, Kenya no longer has large populations of game. In the next decade the rhino will probably become extinct and the elephant may go the same way.

Government seems fatally unconcerned about the poaching epidemic.Poachers are routinely released by police without charge. Or magistrates order a token fine and let them off.

Yet poaching is potentially just as dangerous as the inter-ethnic violence that preoccupies government. Firstly, tourism is one of the pillars of the economy. Without rhino and elephant, tourist numbers will collapse with catastrophic consequences.

Secondly, poaching is no longer the preserve of poor local people. It is now run by organised crime from Nairobi and abroad. And the richer that criminal gangs become, the more difficult it becomes to eradicate them - just look at Mungiki.

Government needs to crack down on poaching now. Otherwise Kenya will drift further towards becoming an impoverished state controlled by criminal syndicates.

Quote of the day: "I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people." - Sir Isaac Newton was born on January 4, 1643

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