By Fredrick Odiero
The Government is pushing for tougher jail sentences for poachers to curb the activity. Principal Secretary ministry of environment, water and natural resources, Dr Richard Lesiyampe, said stiffer penalties will help save endangered wildlife such as elephants and the rhino.
Speaking in Kisumu after a meeting with officials of Lake Victoria Environment Management Programme to evaluate ongoing projects, Lesiyampe said current laws are not deterrent enough and have contributed to the increase in poaching. “We are pushing for a new law that will make poaching very unattractive,” said the PS.
“The government has fast-tracked the enactment of Wildlife Conservation and Management Bill 2013 which has already been gazetted and tabled in Parliament.” The Bill, which was published in the Kenya Gazette on July 22, seeks to broaden investment in the wildlife sector, and support livelihoods of communities around national parks and game reserves.
The enactment of the Bill will lead to enhancing the fight against poaching by stiffening the penalties meted on offenders. Kenya Wildlife Service says elephants and rhinos are under severe and escalating levels of poaching threats, which is one of the greatest threats to wildlife conservation. KWS says poaching and wildlife trafficking have now become more organised, lucrative, and widespread than ever before.
“These challenges are undermining the anti-poaching and wildlife trafficking interventions by the government and the international community over the last 25 years,” KWS said in a statement. Lesiyampe has now called on all stakeholders to support efforts to conserve and protect wildlife for posterity. He said poaching remains a major threat to efforts to transform the economy and deterrent measures should be given priority to safeguard the country’s tourism industry.