Sunday, June 2, 2013

World Wildlife Fund Welcomes Kenya's New Anti-Poaching Amendment

An African bush elephant in Kenya

It has been recently reported that the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has welcomed the Kenyan Parliament amendment in an effort to tackle poaching. The amendment will increase penalties for poaching of wildlife, especially elephants and rhinos, to up to fifteen years in prison and/or a fine of ten million shillings. This surge in 2,500 per cent on current fines means that crimes related to wildlife now have the same status and penalties as the Anti-Terrorism Crime Act, the Economic Crimes' Act, and the Organized Crime Act. According to WWF Regional Representative Niall O'Connor, this initiative would help in conserving the wildlife. He also noted that the amendment will see an increase in the number of game rangers to protect Kenya's wildlife. He further added that the WWF was willing to work with the government of Kenya to put a stop to the illegal wildlife trade that has been the biggest threat to the nation's growing economy.
Handicraft ivory item near elephant tusks at Port Klang, Malaysia

I'm very proud to see that Kenya has taken such an intensive move, in order to protect its wildlife from the ongoing threat of poaching and the illegal wildlife trade. However, in other parts of Africa, most notably in Central Africa and South Africa, poaching has been indiscriminately wiping out wild animals at an alarming rate. Among the animals that have been in the news are elephants and rhinos. Central Africa has become infamous for its poaching, which not only fetches millions of dollars but also funds rebel groups operating in the region. These groups include the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and the Janjaweed, whose members are infamous for conducting treacherous activities such as child-sex slavery, kidnapping, murder, mutilation, and military use of children. The ever-increasing threat of poaching in the region has forced several wildlife organizations to urge Central Africa's governments to adopt a zero-tolerance policy on poaching. But it seems the rebels have taken full control of Central Africa in a sense that governments have little or no chance in dismantling these rebel groups, and indicting their members on numerous crimes against humanity and wildlife. Furthermore, South Africa has and continues to be a major hub for illegal poaching activities carried out by criminal syndicates with access to sophisticated hi-tech equipment that overwhelms game rangers in the battle to end the poaching crisis. I feel that Kenya should also take a step further in aiding South Africa, Central African countries, and other African countries where poaching is rife. This would really help in stemming and ultimately cease the threat of poaching in Africa as a whole.

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