19 February 2013

Kenya: Wekesa Plans New Method to Tame Poaching

Photo: Amboseli Park
Increased poaching to render Elephant population extinct in the country.

The Ministry of Wildlife is looking for new ways to stop poaching of elephants and rhinos. Wildlife Minister Noah Wekesa said the wildlife management authorities are in talks with the country's Judiciary to see how existing laws such as the Economic Crimes Act can be used to control poaching.

Wekesa said they are looking at how the stiff penalties provided for in various laws can be used to deter poaching that has been on the upsurge in recent times.

He said the Wildlife Management and Conservation Act has been unable to stop the menace because of the low fines imposed on culprits.

He said the Sh40,000 maximum fine stipulated by the law cannot stop the multimillion shillings illegal trade in game trophies. Wekesa said the trade is now conducted by syndicates.

He was speaking at the 11th meeting of the IUCN/SSC African Rhino Specialist Group at Narumoru River Lodge hotel in Nyeri at the weekend.

"The move is meant as a stop-gap measure in the war against poaching that has principally targeted rhinos and elephants," he added. Wekesa said the bill to amend the wildlife law was pending in parliament when it dissolved ahead of the March 4 general election.

The minister said the Kenya is engaging the international community, and especially China and other South Eastern China Countries, with a view to shutting down the demand side of the illegal trade.

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