, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 14 – Wildlife and habitat conservationists have called for enactment of more stringent laws in African countries as a way to curb poaching and trafficking of wildlife.
Speaking during a training conference on use of detection dogs to combat wildlife trafficking on the continent, African wildlife Foundation Vice President Philip Muruthi said the challenge in Kenya, despite having some of the most stringent wildlife laws, is enforcement.
“In Kenya we have the laws that are very strict. Some countries in Africa have very weak laws. Look at the plastic bag ban in Kenya, not until last year that this ban was imposed that we are starting to see some improvements (sic),” Muruthi pointed out.
The war on poaching, he said, continues to become sophisticated and thus the need for creative ways to curb it, like the use of trained dogs at the points of entry.
There have been tens of successful recoveries through the use of dogs in the country but there is no supporting law on how to admit such evidence according to Head of Kenya Wildlife Prosecution Unit Florence Magoma.
“The canine evidence or the working dogs are used at the points of entry and exit and they are trained to sniff out ivory. We boast of 25 canines used in strategic points like the airports to help in the fight against trafficking,” she said.
She noted that international networks of crime have complicated the war on poaching since the cartels at times compromise authorities manning points of entry.
However, she expressed confidence on curbing the vice not only in Kenya but on the continent through collaboration and intelligence sharing.
“This conference will also enable us pass the knowledge to other officers from fellow African countries to help prevent on these vices. We would also want to encourage other countries in the use of this canine evidence and make it admissible,” Magoma said during an interview with Capital FM News.