By George Sayagie
Deep pocket illegal game trophy dealers have infiltrated security agencies, hampering the war against poaching, a taskforce on wildlife security has been told.
The existence of far-flung exclusive resorts in secluded privately-owned properties in the Maasai Mara game reserve had created an opportunity for poachers to strike, the taskforce was told at a public forum in Narok on Thursday.
“This is why it has become difficult to arrest illegal inhabitants because they are informed of every move the security agencies are planning,” Siana conservancy chairman Sammy Nkoitoi said.
Mr Nkoitoi urged the taskforce to establish intelligence networks to empower local people working in the reserves and herdsmen to provide information on illegal game trophy dealers.
The dealers are said to take advantage of a law that prohibits public access to private exclusive high-end resorts.
Mr Nehemiah Rotich, the chairman of the taskforce, said a bold policy was needed to empower Kenya Wildlife Service to meet its mandate in the 21st century.
Mr Rotich said the rampant killing of elephants and rhinos had adversely affected Kenya’s image abroad as it is now seen as the world’s ivory transit route.
The team was appointed this year to identify security threats to wildlife and their habitats and examine the existing protection measures.