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Kenya named among most corrupt poaching sponsors

25 April 2014, 16:05 Joseph Njung’eh

Nyeri - A new report has listed Kenya among the most corrupt countries in Africa that support and sponsor poaching of elephants.

The report dubbed Ivory’s Curse: The Militarization and Professionalization of Poaching in Africa was released by Born Free USA and C4ADS, which are conservation groups.

The governments of Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Sudan, DRC and Gabon are said to be protecting impunity in regard to poaching by condoning or arming the perpetrators.

According to Adam Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, a global leader in wildlife conservation and animal welfare, the elephant poaching crisis has reached historic levels and, shockingly, some elephant populations face extinction.

It is said that in the said countries, poachers move across borders with near impunity, slaughter elephants with complete disregard and use the ivory to fund violent operations across the continent.

In rural Kenya, the proximity of marginalized, impoverished and well-armed pastoralist communities to existing trafficking infrastructure creates the conditions for emerging poaching hotspots.

The report continues that, poaching is exacerbated by the widespread availability of firearms and ammunition, much of it likely leaking from government forces.

The proliferation of small arms is one of Kenya’s most pressing security challenges, contributing to inter-tribal violence, cattle rustling, large human displacements, and elephant poaching.

It is estimated that 530 000 - 680 000 firearms are circulating nationally in civilian hands with particularly high concentrations among northern pastoralist communities, where the rule of law is largely absent, and where tribes rely on themselves for self-defense.

The majority of elephants today are killed by gunshot, with at least some bullets leaking from police and security force stocks.

The report also highlights that small arms and ammunition move across Kenya’s porous and unstable borders with Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda.

However, there is also evidence of significant leakage from security and police forces that is contributing to the poaching of elephants, according to the report.

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