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MPs lauded for passing Wildlife Bill

18 June 2013, 17:46 Wangui Joseph

A Kenyan wildlife conservancy, WILDLIFEDIRECT, has lauded parliament for approving a motion seeking to increase penalties for poachers.

According to a press release sent by the conservancy through Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, parliament also approved the increase in number of game rangers in the Country.

“The passing of the bill is a huge victory; it is the strongest message from the government of Kenya on the commitment to preserve national heritage,” read the PR.

The motion was overwhelmingly passed by parliament on May 22, 2013 together with an emergency amendment of the Wildlife Act that raised penalties for killing wildlife especially elephants and rhinos to up to 15 years in jail and/or a fine of up to KES 10 Million.

WILDLIFEDIRECT said that according to current fines, wildlife crimes now have the same status and punishments as the Economic Crimes, Organized Crime and the Terrorism.

“It is a spectacular win for Kenya as it restores her capacity to demonstrate leadership in protecting her wildlife and natural resources,” indicated the Press Release.

10 fold decrease of elephants

North Horr MP Chachu Gaya who moved the motion stated that Kenya’s elephants declined from 160 000 in 1960s to 16 000 in 1989 due to poaching.

He added that currently, Kenya is home to only 38 500 elephants and 1 025 rhinos.

“These animals are a major tourist attraction and anyone who threatens them is committing economic sabotage and should be treated as such,” the MP said.

While seconding the motion, Butere MP Andrew Toboso Anyanga described the current penalties of KES 40 000 for ivory seizures which are worth Millions of shillings as ‘embarrassing’.

MPs also encouraged the enlisting of communities to benefit from conservation, and promised to support the passing of the Wildlife Bill which has been stalled since 2007.

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