Environ Task-force raises concern over poaching
27 August 2014, 21:03
Nairobi – The Environment Ministry Taskforce commissioned to establish progress and challenges facing the wildlife sector in the country have raised concern over the rising cases of poaching for game meat.
The Taskforce’s chair, Nehemiah Rotich, said commercial poaching for bush meat around and in the parks is the major problem facing the wildlife sector in addition to poaching for ivory.
“Commercial poaching is the big problem beyond the control Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). From the taskforce’s findings, it is surprising people are involved in game meat poaching to sell in town and there is need to protect both the inside and outside areas of the parks,” said Rotich.
He said KWS has to reorganize its monitoring systems saying the rising cases of poaching affects the wildlife sector especially by reducing the influx of tourists who always want to see a variety of animals during their tour.
“Commercial poaching is on rise because KWS has no roadblocks to enforce illegal wildlife trade, the Service has no single scanner to detect transportation of wildlife products at exit points, airports and seaport, and other cross-border points,” said Rotich.
He added that the rangers lack morale combating poaching because they are paid peanuts, have no leave sessions, have poor housing, are not provided with modern working facilities and are not provided with capacity development such as internal training for promotions.
“Ranger staff are a few hence not provided with leave periods. Some staff work for more than three months without seeing their families and give little allowances which contributes to reduced morale in controlling poaching,” said Rotich.
The Environment Principal Secretary, Richard Lesiyampe, said KWS has recruited a total of 570 community wildlife rangers to start working in September to assist in fighting poaching and controlling wild animals from intruding into the residents’ habitats.
“Human and wildlife conflict has been a major challenge because many people residing around parks have been dying because of the animal’s attacks. We have about KES 100 million to help victims of wildlife destruction by providing them with essential facilities such as boreholes, schools, fences among others,” said Lesiyampe.
He asserted that over 615 poaching suspects have so far been arrested and arraigned in court and added that suspects who were found guilty of the offence were fined KES 7 million and a 20-year jail.
“More legislation should be made so that when the suspect can’t escape the offences. The rangers will be provided with 1 500 riffles, 250 night goggles among other wears for proper working condition in tackling poaching among other challenges facing the wildlife industry,” said Lesiyampe.
He further said KWS is working with other agencies such as the Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Ports Authority, the Criminal Investigation Department, and the National Security Intelligence Council among other security bodies to help in curbing poaching.
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