, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 30 – The government has issued a 21-day amnesty for the surrender of ivory and any wildlife trophies held without a permit issued by the Kenya Wildlife Service.
Environment Cabinet Secretary Judi Wakhungu says those who do so within the given time frame will not be prosecuted.
Wakhungu says the amnesty is part of preparations for the torching of the largest ivory stockpile in the world set for April 30, 2016 in Nairobi.
The minister, who spoke at a news conference to update Kenyans on preparations of the event, says 105 tonnes of ivory and 1.3 tonnes of rhino horns will be set ablaze by President Uhuru Kenyatta, in the presence of at least 10 heads of state and international celebrities including Hollywood stars.
“The president looks forward to hosting his peers and other dignitaries from all over the world to express their solidarity with Kenya’s conservation efforts,” Wakhungu stated.
She also highlighted that poaching of elephants and rhinos and illegal wildlife trade is a major problem across much of Africa threatening the very survival of iconic species.
“Poaching fuels corruption, insecurity as well as harming the sustainable economic development of local communities but also national economies,” cited Wakhungu.
She however noted that there has been remarkable progress in curbing and trafficking of wildlife.
“In 2014, 164 elephants were poached in the country which significantly reduced to 96 in 2015. The same year 35 rhinos were illegally killed compared to 11 in 2015,” said Wakhungu.
She added that with the implementation of the wildlife conservation and management Act 2013, many cases have been brought to book.
“There have been over 4200 arrests and convictions in 3 years. These actions have resulted into seizures of contraband ivory at our major entry and exit ports and reduced the level of poaching,” noted Wakhungu.
She also stated that they are working with the Kenya Railways and Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure to ensure that as development happens, natural resources are not destroyed.
“The structural development in the park has led to some of the wildlife straying out,” cited Wakhungu, “And so we are working closely with contractors, to make sure that they are aware they must maintain the integrity of the park and ensure the safety of animals.”