Kenya Announces Death Penalty Law For Wildlife Poachers
Plenty of iconic animals such as leopards, buffalos, cheetahs, lions, ostriches, rhinoceros, elephants, zebras, hippos, and giraffes reside in the natural habitats of Kenya.
Unfortunately, most of them are targets to poachers. According to the 2013 Wildlife Conservation Act in Kenya, it is illegal to kill the endangered wildlife population and the punishment includes either a fine of $200,000 or a life sentence.
As reported by the cabinet secretary in the Kenya Ministry of Tourism, since there has not been much done to stop poaching those who are going to kill innocent and endangered animals will face a death penalty.
Although this proposal hasn’t been enacted into law yet, the penalty must be extreme, since wildlife poaching is becoming a capital offense. The death penalty is the only remaining attempt to deter poachers from killing the rapidly decreasing number of wildlife animals in Kenya.
The number of elephants in Kenya is about 34,000, while the number of rhinos is below 1,000. In 2017, 69 elephants and 9 rhinos were slaughtered by poachers. This has seriously affected the growth rate of the wildlife population.
However, it is expected Kenya to come into conflict with the UN because it opposes the death penalty for all kinds of crimes. Kenya’s tourism chefs say that poaching has been reduced due to the improvement of the wildlife law-enforcement efforts as well as the investment in conservation. These efforts have led to a reduction of 85% in rhino poaching and 75% in elephant poaching.
Poachers are mostly attracted by the elephants’ ivory tusks which are extremely valuable in the East. According to the African Wildlife Foundation, more than 70% of illegal ivory ends up in China. Rhinos’ horns, on the other hand, are believed to be a natural cure for cancer, impotence, fever, hangover, and many other medical diseases.
Poachers use high-powered weaponry which helps them to track and kill plenty of animals at once without being noticed. If they are not stopped, the African wildlife may disappear within our lifetime.
Some endangered animals, like black rhinos, are put into sanctuaries guarded by armed rangers. These rangers have started to use thermal and infrared cameras to track poachers and protect the animals. This increases the chances of getting caught, so it prevents poachers from going out.
However, poaching is not the only reason for the decline of the wildlife population. Rhinos and elephants are also prone to extinction due to the human encroachment which destroys their natural habitats. This includes civil unrest, the building of roads, livestock production, and crops cultivation. These animals require large expanses of land in order to survive because living in fragmented areas increases their chances of extinction as well.
If we don’t protect these animals, the planet will suffer a devastating loss because they are highly beneficial and important for the environment. For example, rhinos graze on large areas of grass, thus keeping it short and increasing food access for wildebeests, impalas, and zebras. Elephants, on the other hand, disperse their excrements as they travel over long distances. Their excrements enrich the environment with highly concentrated nutrients.