Two nabbed with government trophies

An investigating officer on Tuesday narrated to a Narok court how they laid a trap to arrest two suspected poachers and recovered ivory worth Sh6.2 million from them.

Diba Halake, an investigator attached to KWS, told Narok Chief Magistrate, Wilbroda Juma that he and a colleague had pretended to be dealers in ivory and boarded a taxi to the scene where they were directed by their informer.

He said they then met the two culprits, Nteru ole Karpa and Joseph Parmaya Nkoito at the scene and negotiated the price.

After clinching a deal, they were shown four pieces of ivory stashed in a gunny bag. The investigating officer then apprehended them.

The duo was charged on that January 18, 2015 at Oletukat area of Narok South, they were found in illegal possession of a wildlife trophy namely six pieces of elephant trophy weighing 62 kilogrammes with an estimated street value of Shs.6.2 million.

They also faced a second count of dealing in the same afore-mentioned game trophies in contravention of the Kenya Wildlife Conservation and Management Act 2013.

They face a maximum fine of Shs.20million or life imprisonment on each offence if found guilty, thanks to the new Kenya Wildlife Conservation Act of 2013 and the case will be heard on July 18.

This comes amid reports that poaching was on the increase in the Maasai Mara Game Reserve and other wildlife sanctuaries in Narok County.

The County is home to thousands of wildlife including the big five in the famous Maasai Mara and other Wildlife conservancies in the county, but the county has been losing hundreds of the wildlife to poachers.

In June last year, President Uhuru Kenyatta set ablaze a cache of over 100 tons of ivory and rhino horns that had been seized from poachers in various parts of the country. The burning, aimed at making the country’s stand on poaching clear, took place at Nairobi National Park.

In 2013, the country came up with strict sentences for wildlife offenders under the new Wildlife Conservation and Management Act 2013 which has imposed stiffer penalties for wildlife related offenses in order to save our wildlife.

However, the new law does not seem to have done much to deter the crime. To date, there are numerous similar cases pending before Narok courts, an indicator that the crime was rampant in the area.

KWS and other stakeholders have raised a red flag over the rampant poaching of wildlife in the county for meat, ivory and other trophies.

The upsurge of the vice could be blamed on the increased demand for ivory and other wildlife products in Asia and some countries in Southern Africa.

Elephant tusks and rhino horns are said to be on high demand in some Asian countries, where they are used to make various ornaments and are also said to be of medicinal value.

Source: Kenya News Agency