By George Mugo
A man was on Monday arrested with an elephant skin at Gatamaiyu shopping centre in Lari, Kiambu county. Residents said Boniface Mbugua was seen walking with the skin at the shopping centre and they informed AP officers who arrested him.
Speaking to the Star yesterday, Lari police boss Alfred Makoma said the AP officers reported the incident to them and they called in the Kenya Wildlife Service officers for further investigations. He said KWS officers confirmed that the 30cm skin was that of an elephant. Makoma thanked the locals for reporting Mbugua. He said such reports will help reduce poaching. “We are supposed to protect our country’s heritage and beauty by protecting such animals.
It was a noble report and the investigations are ongoing so that we can establish where he got the skin from and where he was taking it to,” Makoma said. Makoma said the suspect will be arraigned in court once investigations are complete and the skin will be treated as an exhibit. Gatamaiyu village neighbours the Aberdare Forest in Nyandarua county, where poaching of wild animals is rampant.
Last weekend, an elephant was killed and its tusks chopped off in the forest. Local environmentalist called on the government to increase the punishments and fines for poachers and those found with wild animals parts such as bones, skins and tusks.
“The government had increased punishments for poachers, yet today they are still risking going to the forests and killing the wild animals. I think they have realised that they can afford to pay the fines and bonds. The law should be reviewed to increase the punishment,” said environmentalist Elizabeth Wachira.