PRESS RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WildlifeDirect announces the release of a new report showcasing the state of wildlife crime cases in Kenya
Nairobi, September 05, 2018: WildlifeDirect announces the release of a new report showcasing the state of wildlife crime cases in Kenya.
WildlifeDirect has been monitoring wildlife crime cases in Kenyan courts since 2008. Through Eyes in the Courtroom project; we provide the only nation-wide publicly available review of Kenya’s wildlife law enforcement response. This report gives an analysis of the wildlife crime cases between 2016 and 2017. Our report measures the effectiveness of the Wildlife Conservation & Management Act (WCMA) while highlighting strengths and weakness of the criminal justice system.
This report embodies the analyses of 957 wildlife crime court cases collected in 2016 and 2017 from 121 courts in Kenya relating to 1,958 accused persons.
On the Right Path: A review of the outcome of court room cases under the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act, 2013 is the third report of a series analysing the effectiveness of Kenya’s law enforcement in responding to wildlife crime. Our first report, published in 2014 presented findings that exposed serious loopholes in the enforcement of the WCMA. The second report, published in 2016, revealed substantial improvement in the process and outcomes of wildlife crime cases and made further recommendations. Since 2014, government and civil society have invested enormously in responding to these recommendations by building the technical, institutional and resource capacity of wildlife law enforcement. The fight against wildlife crime is an uphill task that cannot be left to one agency or country. Only collaborative measures will help address the over 20 billion dollar industry that spans across the globe.
Key Highlights of the Report are as follows;
- 68% of all 1958 arrests were carried out by Kenya Wildlife Service with Kenyan nationals accounting for 90% of the arrests; and,
- 44% of all court cases directly related to wildlife trophies from 48 different species with the elephant species involved in most cases; and,
- 52% of all offences charged related directly to illegal entry and illegal entry with livestock.
- 55% of all cases were concluded with an impressive 95% conviction rate; and,
- 52% of convicted offenders were sentenced to imprisonment or payment of a fine while 30% of convicted offenders were discharged and set free; and,
- 9 fugitives of justice facing charges relating to endangered species are still at large.
- 5 law enforcement officers among those facing charges relating to endangered species.
- 13 seizures worldwide attributed to Kenya are lacking follow up by way of investigation or prosecution; and,
- 8 cases are pending before various courts relating to 20,400 kilograms of ivory.
- Impressive conviction rate against low level traffickers (95%) with zero convictions against high profile wildlife traffickers.
These finding have been validated by the Judiciary Training Institute, our main partner in the Eyes in the Courtroom who also authorized access to court records countrywide.
As a result of the findings we are making the following five recommendations to guide Kenya’s wildlife law enforcement agencies as they strengthen their response to wildlife crime.
- Convictions against high profile wildlife traffickers must be improved.
- Collaboration with illegal wildlife product destinations is necessary
- Amendments to the Wildlife Act firming penalties against wildlife traffickers need to be fast tracked.
- Fugitives from justice must be aggressively pursued.
- Illegal grazing in parks must be dealt with through amendments to the Wildlife Act and mainstreaming graze agreements with communities that live in and along parks.
WildlifeDirect is a conservation organization that aims to connect Kenyans to their wildlife and nature and inspire them to value and act to conserve it. Our vision is changing hearts, minds and laws to ensure that Africa’s critical species endure forever. We hold a unique and special role in the conservation of Kenya’s wildlife thorough our legal, community, outreach and education programs and wildlife TV series.
Media Contact: Trish Sewe, Communications Manager, WildlifeDirect