Kenya officials reportedly say imprisonment and fines aren’t enough.
Poaching is a problem all over the world, but Kenya might see the worst of it.
Kenyan officials are reportedly sick of it and will now seek out the death penalty for wildlife criminals, according to a report by the Independent.
“We have in place the Wildlife Conservation Act that was enacted in 2013 and which fetches offenders a life sentence or a fine of US$200,000,” Kenya’s tourism and wildlife minister Najib Balala said. “However, this has not been deterrence enough to curb poaching, hence the proposed stiffer sentence.”
Kenya hopes the idea can quickly turn into law and help continue a downward trend in poaching. Officials attribute that trend to an increasingly aggressive approach to enforcing wildlife laws and more money pouring into conservation efforts.
The African nation’s most recent anti-poaching efforts include outfitting black rhinos with GPS transmitters and staging a burning of $100 million originally destined for the black market. The country has also increasingly utilized things like scientific forensic evidence and even the use of drones as a means of catching poachers.
Despite the stepped-up efforts against wildlife crime, The Independent reports 69 elephants and nine rhinos were killed in 2017. In a population of 34,000 elephants and only 1,000 rhinos, the numbers can effectively cancel out any population growth, according to the Save the Rhino Organization.
Already this year three black rhinos, a calf and two adults, have already fallen to poachers in Meru National Park.
The news of possible harsher poaching punishments comes right on the heels of the last male northern white rhino dying in a Kenyan preserve two months ago. The loss knocks the number of northern white rhinos down to just two. Poaching has devastated white rhino populations to the brink. And, it’s unknown if artificial insemination efforts on the two remaining females can save the population.