KWS pushes for life imprisonment of poachers
06 August 2013, 14:01
Nairobi - Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) is pushing for life imprisonment for poachers of elephants and rhinos as a deterrent measures to protect the two endangered species, an official has said.
KWS Director William Kiprono said on Monday the killing of wildlife especially the elephants and rhinos in the county are alarming and required stiff penalties to the perpetrators.
Kiprono said the killing of the two endangered species for their valued tusks is an economic sabotage and punitive measures have to be meted on criminals involved in the vice.
"The only way to protect these endangered species -- elephants and rhinos is to send poachers to complete their remaining years of their life in prison. This will deter others from engaging in poaching," said Kiprono in Kitale when he met with local security agencies to map out strategies to tame poaching of elephants at Nasolot Game Reserve.
Kenya is enacting a bill that will show poachers fined between 120,000 U. S. dollars and nearly 200,000 dollars.
"The pending bill will allow a poacher fined up to 200,000 dollars is not stiff punishment for economic saboteurs such as poachers. We are pushing for a life imprisonment," said Kiprono.
The officials said the organization is receiving overwhelming support from stakeholders in the tourism sector to come up with stiff penalties to poachers.
He said combined efforts are needed to tackle poaching in the parks, adding that the killing of wildlife is hurting the tourism and the country's economic.
Kiprono noted that a well organized cartel are out to ruin tourism due to lucrative market for tusks but warned that the organization is up to the task of keeping poachers at bay and protect the wildlife.
Citing the high foreign income from tourism standing at about 1. 5 billion dollars with 80 percent from wildlife sub-sector, Kiprono argued the need for drastic mechanism to stop the madness of killing wildlife.
"We cannot afford to lose our wildlife earning the country a fortune because of a few dishonest people out to reap at the expense of the country," he lamented.
He said stakeholders have gone to the drawing board to midwife all possible strategies to counter the poaching menace.
Kiprono argued that the tourism sector has employed 300,000 Kenyans and weakening the sector will have a negative impact of the economy.
"Imagine the magnitude of people eking a living from tourism. We are not going to spare people killing tourism," he said. In the new wildlife bill, the director said the animal human conflict is well catered for, adding if an animal kills or destroys the property of a person, then the person will be well compensated.
He urged the security agencies near the parks to seal all loopholes used by poachers to gain access to wildlife.
Join in the conversation on our Facebook page. Also get the latest news by following us on Twitter.