Kenya Announces Death Penalty for Poachers

Many of the iconic animals in Kenya, like cheetahs, elephants, giraffes, leopards, and rhinoceros are the prime targets to poachers.As it is illegal to kill the endangered animals, a law of the Wildlife in this country carries a life sentence or fine of $200,000 for offenders.

However, according to Najib Balala, the cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Tourism this penalty has not been deterrence enough to curb poaching, so the poachers there will now face a death penalty.

This penalty was announced by Najib Balala, for those who take the lives of innocent animals through poaching.This is still a proposal, but the minister told that wildlife poaching is on a fast track to becoming a capital offense.

Even though that penalty might appear extreme, according to him it is a last resort attempt to deter people from slaughtering wildlife population.

The statistics says that poaching has been on the decline as a result of the increased attention to conservation and wildlife law-enforcement efforts, but the fact is that the animals are still in danger.The elephant population is hovering around 34,000 and the number of black rhinos in Kenya is below 1,000.

In 2017 the growth rate of the population of those animals seriously cancels out, as a result of killing 9 rhinos and 69 elephants by poachers.  

Some expect believe that this move will put Kenya in conflict with the UN, which is against the death penalty for all crimes worldwide.The intention of the UN General Assembly is to pass the resolutions for a phasing-out of capital punishment, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights advocates its universal abolition.

The reports of ministry showed that those efforts caused an 85 percent reduction in rhino poaching and a 78 percent reduction in elephant poaching, but yet, two black rhinos and a calf were again poached at Meru national park recently.

Poachers are doing that in order to sell the ivory tusks of elephants, which are highly valuable in the Far East.

About 70 percent of illegal ivory ends up in China, where the price of a pound is approximately $1,000. This market is banned in China, but black markets remain, yet.

Another valuable thing from the animals are horns of rhinos, which are used for treating impotence, cancer, fever, hangovers and other medical ailments.

The price of a pound of this horns can reach for about $30,000, which is more than gold.The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) warns about the poachers that use high-powered technology and weaponry to track and kill numerous animals at once without being detected.

For that reason the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) intends to increase its number of wildlife crime prosecutors, which is supported by Kenya’s national prosecution service and conservation organization Space for Giants.

Max Graham from Space for Giants emphasized that capacity of the KWS to catch and convict criminals under Kenya’s robust laws.

Rangers in Kenya are equipped with infrared and thermal cameras to spot poachers and protect the remaining endangered populations.

According to Brian Heath, a conservationist from the conservation group the Mara Conservancy, they were not able to find those people earlier, but now, the poachers are aware that the chances of getting caught is getting higher and higher.

Some specific measures for protecting the animals from poachers are taken regularly, for instance in South Africa, a lot of rhinos have actually been airlifted out of poaching-prone areas.

The animals are airlifted into safer locales, such as Botswana, where poaching is rare.

Elephants and rhinos only occupy about 19 percent of their historical ranges in Africa, which is a threat of the habitat loss.

Building of the roads, livestock production, cultivation of crops, and civil unrest destroyed natural habitats of the wild animals.  

Everyone should be aware that these animals are incredibly important and beneficial to the environment so if people do not protect them, the world will suffer a devastating loss.

Many people believe in the measures like Kenya takes against poaching, and that it will save these invaluable species, but according to AWF, management authorities need data-driven solutions to improve anti-poaching capacity.

They actually need to allow remaining priority populations to recover from crises, by using different economic opportunities that secure biodiversity. Of course it is necessary to lower the pressure on natural resources with increasing development, infrastructure, and urbanization.


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