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Kenya needs to up the fight against poaching

14 August 2013, 17:41 Paul Orodi

We pride as a country rich in the indigenous wildlife resources yet we watch as they get depleted by foreigners who have their personal interests at heart. Poaching in Kenya is real and the rate at which its taking place is obviously alarming.

Over the past six months, statistics indicate that the country has lost close to 140 elephants and rhinos to poachers who pose as herders. The agency tasked with the duty of safeguarding our resources in the wild has been doing very little in ensuring the criminal act is averted.

It is projected that in the next 30 years or so, with the continued activities that endanger our wild life heritage, 'the elephant and rhino' will be a story told like that of the dinosaur. How can we allow this to happen yet we know that they rake in millions of dollars every year in income and other benefits for the country and individuals within Kenya? Can we afford to lose out on wildlife tourism as an economic sector all together?

The government has got to act swiftly and stop dragging its feet with regard to punishing of the poachers and associated criminals in the business of killing for ivory and other wildlife material. Currently, the fine imposed on guilty persons is a paltry KES 40,000 yet the income generated from the business is in excess of millions of dollars. This is the reason we have so many culprits walking into court and pleading guilty to the charges pressed against them. They very well know that they can pay the fine and walk scot free into the millionaires’ world.

As a stringent measure, the government should first heighten the charges to amount to economic sabotage and impose a fine in excess of hundreds of millions. Together with the hefty fine, the government should ensure that those failing to pay the fine within a stipulated time frame are locked up in the maximum penitentiary facilities for not less than 25 years and imposed on hard labor so that no one is easily lured into the trade that is taking Kenya to the rags.

With a hefty fine of hundreds of millions or a jail term of over 25 years, poachers will have to reconsider their trade. The proposed life sentence comes in handy as this is the only way we cann ensure that our wildlife species are protected from the harmful acts of poachers and their financiers. 

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