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Update: Kenya Will Not Enforce Death Penalty For Wildlife Poachers

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“a correction was made directly in this story at the request of an independent fact checker for Facebook”        

  • Update: It has come to our attention through an AFP article that the Xinhua news agency was mistaken in its report last year that Kenya’s tourism and wildlife minisiter had announced plans to introduce the death penalty for wildlife poachers. It appears the minister was not at
    the meeting on which Xinhua reported. And while a statement was read on his behalf by a colleague, he has told AFP that ”nothing i spoke on behalf of minister was related to the death penalty for poachers”.
    he went on to say to AFP that ”I think in that meeting one of the local leaders casually said that poachers should be killed but nothing official came from this ministry”.

Many animal populations had been pushed to endangered status over the past few decades with the main threat being both legal & illegal wildlife hunting and poaching.

Among the most threatened animals in Kenya are the Rhinos and Elephants, as their tusks and horns makes them prime targets for poachers. Their horns are sought after by Asia as they are used in traditional folk medicine, a treatment for impotence, hangovers and cancer.

According to the International Rhino Foundation, three African rhinos were poached every day over the past five years.

In 2018, figures showed a dip in poaching in South Africa for the fourth year in a row and was the first time that poaching numbers dipped below 1,000 since 2012

What holds a threat to elephants and rhinos?
• The single biggest threat is poaching mostly by organized crime syndicates.
• Illegal and legal hunting. (South Sudan has banned all forms of hunting)
• Elephants needs a lot of room to roam. Habitat loss including forest destruction due to human expansion, buildings, roads etc. Only 25% of land on earth is free form the impact of human activities, this will decline to 10% by 2050.
• Vulnerability to natural disasters and disease causes a decrease in numbers.
Valuable benefits of elephants and rhinos to the environment.
• Elephants by eating tree seeds and fruit, defecating the seed and disperse it in their feces often away from the parent plant.
• Rhinos by grazing on grass help to keep the grass short so that impalas, zebra and wildebeest have access to food.
• Urine and feces carry concentrated nutrients that benefits the entire landscape.

All the efforts by conservationists’ are not in vain. The white rhino was almost extinct with only 50-100 rhinos left in the wild, this subspecies increased to between 19 600 and 21 085. The largest portion of these rhinos’ lives in South Africa. Conservancies in Kenya currently covers more than 6.3 million hectares, impacting more than 700 000 people securing 65% of the wildlife found outside national parks and reserves.

From 2012 to 2013 poaching has declined between 78 and 85%.

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