By Gilbert Koech
The police should not reveal the black market value of illegal ivory whenever it is impounded.
Nyumba Kumi chairman Joseph Kaguthi said this is encouraging more criminals to go into poaching because the return sounds attractive.
“Police have the powers but they have to know that by releasing the street value of ivory nabbed, they are motivating and encouraging those hellbent on committing crime,” he told the Star.
“Our elephants are our wealth and national heritage. When I was working at the National Campaign Against Drug Abuse (Nacada), I used to inform the media not to over magnify through publicity because they are promoting the agenda.”
Kaguthi said the police and Kenya Wildlife Service should instead be telling Kenyans the kilogramme of ivory confiscated as well as the number of elephants killed.
The police always give out the estimated cost of ivory when suspects are taken to court.
A kilogramme of illegal ivory is going for about Sh200,000 in Asian markets. Poachers killed almost 100 elephants last year in Kenya.
“Our population consist of young people and when we suggest something, they take it up easily. Our agencies need to be aware because this injures our country,” Kaguthi said.
KWS acting director general William Kiprono said: “Poaching last year went down significantly as a result of coordinated efforts from KWS rangers and other stakeholders. We will win it with support from everyone.”
KWS recorded that 302 elephants were poached in 2013 down from 384 in 2012.
Habitat loss, climate change, deforestation, invasive species in wildlife protected areas and bio-piracy are some of the challenges facing conservation efforts.
Others are incompatible land uses, high population growth, diseases and dwindling revenue for conservation, wildlife authorities say.