, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 6 – Two men have been fined a total of Sh63 million or face life sentences for being in illegal possession of three kilograms of ivory in separate incidences.
The first suspect who appeared before a Narok court was fined Sh40 million or serve life imprisonment in default.
“Wilson Kiyayooni appeared before Narok Senior Resident Magistrate Allan Sitati and was fined Sh40 million or serve life imprisonment in default for illegally being in possession of an elephant tusk weighing three kilogrammes,” KWS said in a statement.
“He, alongside a boy (aged less than eighteen years- name withheld) was arrested at Emuria Dikir area in Narok County while in possession of the contraband ivory. The minor was released by the court.”
The second suspect was fined Sh23 million when a Laikipia court found him guilty of illegally possessing ivory.
“And in Laikipia County, James Aoi Lokigen appeared before Nyahururu Senior Resident Magistrate Peter Ndege for being in illegal possession of three kilogrammes of ivory at Mutura ADC farm in Rumuruti area,” KWS said.
“He faced two counts and was convicted for both. In the first count, he was fined three million shillings or to serve two years imprisonment for illegal possession of a government trophy.”
He was also convicted of the second count for dealing with a government trophy without authorisation and was fined Sh20 million or serve life imprisonment in default.
The arrests come in the wake intensified war against poaching ahead of the torching of the world’s largest stockpile of ivory later this month.
Speaking on Wednesday at the kick off of the mid-term evaluation of the conservation and management strategy for the elephant in Kenya (2012-2021), Environment Cabinet Secretary Judi Wakhungu said though there is steady growth in elephant population in the country; the future for African elephants is far from secure.
“Elephants face a magnitude of threats. The magnitude of this treats are so severe that many predict these populations may be lost entirely,” said Wakhungu.
It is with this background that Kenya is hosting the midterm evaluation of the management and conservation strategy for elephants in Kenya.
The conservation strategy will bring together elephant conservation partners from across the country to discuss contemporary conservation needs, challenges, future outlook.
In addition the midterm evaluation will help in developing a road map for dealing with emerging threats to elephant and balancing of wildlife conservation with development.
“This review will help know what has worked and hasn’t in matters poaching,” stated Wakhungu, “Compared to 2012 Kenya has recorded a reduction in poaching for both elephants and rhinos.”
Deputy Director in charge of Species at KWS Patrick Omondi was however quick to note that resources for conservation is very scarce.
“This workshop will come in handy to redirect resources to conserve the entire country’s population,” stated Omondi.
The Kenya Wildlife Service is currently embarking on carrying out a census on how many elephants are in the forests.
“We’ve never surveyed our forest elephants, the Mt Kenya, Aberdare, Shimba hills etc,” highlighted Omondi, “This is because we lacked an internationally recognized technique standard of doing so.”
“But we have now brought in experts to start on the process. We have done Mt Kenya recently and moving forward we want to know all our forest population,” noted Omondi.