Environment

Three game poachers arrested in possession of 172 dead game dik-dik antelopes Galana ranch

Three game poachers have been arrested in possession of dead 172 game dik-diks and Gerenuks in Galana conservancy. The three suspects were also in possession of 5 motorbikes and 20 torches that were used during the crime. 

The Galana ranch is a wildlife conservancy that borders the world’s famous Tsavo East National Park on the Coast of Kenya.

The game poachers were arrested yesterday evening nabbed by officers from the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) in Malindi. The three are suspected to be among a notorious syndicate of criminals who have been raiding the vast Galana ranch for illegal poaching and selling of game meet.

The three suspects are in police custody waiting to be arraigned in court. It remains unclear where the poachers were taking the killed game animals.

Cases of wildlife poaching have become rampant in Kenya. Wildlife is a major tourist attraction in the country. Poaching has led to a reduction in wild animal numbers thereby affecting the tourism sector. Some important species have become more vulnerable to poachers such as the Elephant species which have reduced due to their expensive tusk.

The conviction rate for wildlife crimes in Kenya has recently risen signaling a significant achievement in the war against poaching for government agencies and other conservation bodies.

The Kenya Wildlife (Conservation and Management) Act legislations criminalize the hunting of protected animals and the unlicensed hunting of game animals.

The law also prohibits other acts, such as importation or exportation of trophies without permission, dealing in trophies without a license, and transfer of trophies in disregard of legal procedures for proper transfer of ownership. 

A person convicted of hunting any animal in a national park is subject to a fine ranging from 5000 Kenyan shillings (KES) ( US$58) to 20,000 KES ( US$232), and/or imprisonment ranging from six months to three years, which may include corporal punishment.

In addition, a person convicted of carrying on the business of a dealer without a license or in violation of the terms is subject to a fine of up to 20,000 KES and/or a prison term of up to five years. A person who transfers trophies in violation of the WCMA is, on conviction, subject to a fine of up to 10,000 KES ( US$116) and/or one-year imprisonment.

The task of enforcing the law is a shared responsibility among various law enforcement institutions, with the principal enforcement agency being the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).

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