WildlifeDirect launches a new comprehensive report on Kenya’s legal response to wildlife, forest and fisheries crimes

Nairobi, March 3, 2021: WildlifeDirect launches its fourth report on the outcomes of wildlife crime and includes forest, and fisheries crime cases in Kenya.

 During the launch of the report at this year’s virtual roundtable meeting hosted by the British Embassy in Rome, Dr. Paula Kahumbu stated, “Kenya has made impressive progress in the fight against wildlife crime by investing heavily in anti-poaching. However, The attention to poaching and international wildlife crime has distracted conservationists from a much bigger problem of habitat conversion and loss, the loss of connectivity due to infrastructure across our wilderness landscapes. We cannot think that by stopping wildlife crime we are going to save these magnificent animals. It’s not enough. To stem the decline of our wildlife, we must look holistically at all the threats including agricultural, transport and industrial policy.”

Analysis of court processes revealed the following key findings:

  • 6,254 persons accused of environmental crimes under the three Acts during 2018 and 2019.
  • Highest wildlife offences were recorded in Taita-Taveta (83.7/ 100,000 inhabitants) while areas like Nakuru, Baringo and Laikipia recorded high forestry cases (25-30/100,000 inhabitants).
  • Kenya has achieved a 90% conviction rate overall under WCMA but only 68.2% of concluded trophy hunting trials in 2018–2019 resulted in conviction.
  • Most offenders pleaded guilty to offences under the three Acts except in the case of trophy and bushmeat offences where they pleaded not guilty.
  • The most severe penalties were issued under the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act (WCMA).
  • Trials of persons accused of serious offences (major seizures trophy) were extremely prolonged and often thrown out.

This report highlights the need for expanding focus on wildlife protection from international crimes to include resource extraction from national parks and reserves, together with bushmeat, timber and charcoal, and other threats like habitat conversion and infrastructure developments that interfere with connectivity, and contribute to human-wildlife conflict (HWC).

The report is the result of collaboration between WildlifeDirect’s Legal Program and the Judiciary Training Institute (JTI), with the support of the Office of the Chief Justice and the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary.

This report is made possible through funding from the Elephant Crisis Fund (administered by Save the Elephants and the Wildlife Conservation Network), Whitley Segre Foundation, the Straus Foundation and the Cedar Hill Foundation.

Download the report here.

For more information, please contact:

Victoria Wangui – WildlifeDirect, Communications Assistant

Email:  +254 (0) 715 845 128

About WildlifeDirect:

WildlifeDirect is a Kenyan based conservation organization that has transformed anti-poaching results in Kenya through the award-winning conservation campaign “Hands Off Our Elephants” and the production of Africa wildlife documentaries.  The vision of WildlifeDirect is changing hearts and minds and laws to ensure that Africa’s critical species endure forever. WildlifeDirect produces wildlife documentary series’ as part of its mission to connect people to their wildlife and nature and inspire them to treasure it and act to conserve it.