NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 27 – Two suspects charged with retention, possession and dealing in wildlife trophies have been slapped with hefty fines of Sh60 and Sh40 million by a court in Narok.
Tiapukel Kuyoni and Munyau Nzusyo will alternatively serve life sentences for the crimes if they are unable to meet the fines.
Kuyoni was found guilty on all three counts while Nzusyo was convicted of two counts – with each count attracting a Sh20mn fine.
Under the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act, poachers and dealers in illegal animal trophies now face life imprisonment and a fine of more than Sh20 million in a move meant to protect endangered wildlife like elephants and rhinos.
Early last year, Chinese ivory smuggler Tang Yong Jian, who was the first person to be convicted under the new law was ordered to pay Sh20 million or face seven years in jail.
He was arrested while carrying an ivory tusk weighing 3.4 kilogrammes in a suitcase while on transit from Mozambique to China via Nairobi.
Previously, punishment for the most serious wildlife crimes was capped at a maximum fine of Sh40,000 and a possible jail term of up to 10 years.
The stiff punishments are meant to tackle the rising cases of poachers killing wildlife for tusks, horns and skins for sale.
Sport hunting, now classified as category B attracts a five-year jail term, Sh5 million fine or both while category C animal hunters will pay Sh1 million, a two-year jail term or both.
Those found hunting or trading in bush-meat face a one-year jail term, a Sh200,000 fine or both if convicted.
Compensation for life lost to a wild animal has been increased to Sh5 million.
Those who are maimed will receive Sh3 million while those injured will receive a maximum of Sh2 million, depending on the extent of the injury.
The Act also established a Wildlife Research and Training Institute that will build capacity in the sector through training, collection and storage of a wildlife database.