Poachers have been the scourge of the animal kingdom since their pelts were first seen as valuable. Poaching has been rife all over the world but is worst in Africa. This is likely due to the large numbers of rare and endangered creatures that call the continent their home.
Many of these animals roam their natural habitats, but many live in sanctuaries. Sanctuaries rehabilitate species and reintroduce animals back into the wild. However, animals are not safe from poachers here either. Sanctuaries often cover many acres of ground and are nigh impossible to patrol at all times.
Poachers hunt elephants and rhinoceroses for their tusks and horns, made of ivory and used for alternative medicine respectively. They mostly kill the animals, but occasionally they leave them alive to suffer further. Without any means of protection, animals like elephants are more susceptible to predators.
Finally, the Kenyan government enforced harsher punishments for poachers caught in the act.
“We have in place the Wildlife Conservation Act that was enacted in 2013 and which fetches offenders a life sentence or a fine of U.S. $200,000,” said Cabinet Secretary for Tourism Najib Balala, “However, this has not been deterrence enough to curb poaching, hence the proposed stiffer sentence.”
In 2017 alone, poachers killed 69 elephants and nine rhinos, which was more than their populations grew that year. Less than 1,000 black rhinos remain in Kenya.
“Not only can Kenya Wildlife Service catch wildlife criminals but now they have the capacity to ensure those criminals are convicted under Kenya’s robust laws,” stated Max Graham of Space for Giants, “a ranger in the field should not have to experience the frustration of confronting a wildlife criminal they arrested a week earlier walking free again because of an acquittal. This is a critical step up in the battle against the illegal wildlife trade.”
However, the decision is not without controversy. The United Nations opposes the death penalty and suggests stopping capital punishment across the globe.
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