NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 21 – The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has for a long time faced its fair share of challenges, the greatest being poachers and encroachment of animal habitats.
Within the first 100 days of the Jubilee government, the body has received high level support, particularly with the approval of the Wildlife Bill by the Cabinet.
KWS Deputy Spokesman Paul Muya said the Bill will place stern penalties on poachers and enforce security measures to protect the animals.
“The action plan is mainly for education and awareness for the people to know the risks that come with poaching not only to them but also to the tourism sector in Kenya,” said Muya.
Muya added that they are collaborating with other government enforcement offices that are helping the service seize any illegal contraband within the country.
“Working with offices like the Kenya Ports authority, Police and the Kenya Revenue authority enables us to seize illegal contraband that is being shipped and harshly penalise the perpetrators,” he added.
Cabinet Secretary for Commerce, Tourism and East African Community Phyllis Kandie added that the poaching threat was unacceptable.
“I greatly support the passing of the Wildlife Management Bill. However the communities living around wildlife facilities need to work with the government to tame the menace,” she said.
Muya further observed that measures had been taken to ensure that forests were also protected because they serve as a habitat to the animals.
He added that it is the responsibility of each individual to ensure that they take care of the forests because they serve as food and secure the ground from landslides that wreck havoc.
“The forests act as a habitat for these animals and as such it is important to protect them. We are embarked on redeeming the Mau Forest with the help of the government and locals. Protecting forests directly protects our animals and that way boosts the Kenya economy through tourism,” explained Muya.
The Kenya Forest Research institute started an initiative where they have collected 9 tons of seeds and supplied 6.5 tons to government agencies and farmers that would meet the national target of planting 500,000 trees.