By Joseph Ng’ang’a
The fight against poaching requires a multi agency approach to facilitate investigative matters, prosecution and implementing penalties and jails terms, INTERPOL has said.
Speaking during a launch against Elephant poaching and ivory trafficking in East Africa at the Canadian high Commission’s residence on Tuesday, INTERPOL head of Environmental Security Unit David Higgins said the fight requires input of every one since poaching is broad and complex.
Higgins commended Kenya and the office of the Director of Public Prosecution ( DPP) for prosecuting poachers and ivory traffickers, a situation which in the past performed dismally with only four percent of those prosecuted going to jail.
“The success in Kenya where the DPP is prosecuting poachers and traffickers and the judiciary giving hefty fines and long jail terms should be replicated across the world in countries that have not adopted such measures,” said Higgins.
The report on poaching indicates that in 2013 18 large scale seizures of over 500 kilograms were made in 2013 representing an increase from the previous year.
“A significant part of ivory, reaching the international markets especially in Asia is derived from Tanzania with the majority of seizures being done at the maritime ports concealed as other lawful goods,” says the report.
To this effect, INTERPOL has deployed six staff in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania to help in the fight against poaching and trafficking. Higgins said there was need to change the way the Countries respond to poaching incidences by becoming more proactive.
Canadian High Commission to Kenya David Angell said the Canadian Government has donated $2 million (Kshs.170 million) in emergency funding to support the fight against wildlife trafficking in East Africa.
Angell said that the momentum set in place by the recent London conference of illegal wildlife trade, the G8 and the Commonwealth needs to be maintained in order to win against the illegal trade.
“Illegal wildlife trade has consequences for international security, good governance and livelihoods of communities as it funds drug trafficking, corruption and terrorism in Africa which threatens the security and safety of its communities,” said Angell.
The report recommends working together of police, customs, environmental agencies, the DPP, Judiciary and non-governmental organizations under the National Environmental Security Task Force (NESTs) in order to have a stronger fight against poaching.