, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 28 – 800 kilograms of bush meat being sold as beef have been impounded at the popular Burma market in Nairobi.
According to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), the meat was being sold to unsuspecting customers.
15 suspects have been arrested and charged over the incident.
A statement released on Friday stated that the suspects were charged with dealing, being in possession, and selling uninspected meat among other charges.
“The arrest followed two poaching incidents that took place at Olturoto in Kajiado County and Portland Farm next to Game Ranch in Athi River, Machakos County on June 26, 2019 where two zebras were poached. KWS teams in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies pursued the suspects involved in the poaching incidents,” it stated.
Buying and selling bush meat is illegal and anyone arrested faces a jail term of not less than three years without an option of a fine.
Consumption of bush meat is also a public health risk since the meat is not inspected for diseases like Ebola and anthrax which are linked to wild animals.
A motor vehicle believed to have been used by the suspects to ferry the recovered bush meat was also impounded.
During the operation, it emerged that the outlet selling bush meat operated without a permit or license, pointing at impunity in Burma Market.
“The operation established that the suspects involved in bush meat poaching have also been involved in livestock theft in parts of Kajiado and Machakos Counties, implying that the poaching suspects are determined to get meat from whichever source to sell to unsuspecting customers,” KWS said.
KWS warned the public against buying meat from suspicious outlets operating without licenses.
“KWS calls upon relevant authorities to ensure that meat outlets are regularly inspected and licensed as per existing laws and regulations. The public should report any suspected cases of poaching or bush meat dealing to KWS or other law enforcement agencies.”
A number of strategies have since been deployed to address the challenge, including heightened security patrols to curb poaching.