Poaching in the country has significantly dropped by fifty per cent following the enactment of the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act 2013.
The Head of the Wildlife Crimes Unit in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) Ms Wangui Gikui said the Act which came into effect in January 2014 has been instrumental in making Kenya to be the leading country in East Africa in the fight against wildlife crimes.
She said between 2011-2013, the country was named among the 8 world leading countries in poaching owing to deficiencies in the old wildlife Act which among other things fined offenders a mere Ksh 40,000 which they easily paid and went back to repeat the crime. Under the new Act however, wildlife offenders are fined between Ksh 1-20 million depending on the offence.
Speaking during a sensitization workshop on the ODPP Wildlife Standard Operating Procedures and Rapid Reference Guide in a Nairobi hotel, Ms Gikui said the ACT coupled with inter agency collaboration has enhanced prosecution of wildlife leading to increased conviction rate of 91% currently up from from 44% in 2013.
The Senior Assistant Director Public Prosecutions who is also the head of the ODPP Executive Secretariat Mr. Paul Ndemo said in its prosecutorial mandate, ODPP was guided by the National Prosecution Policy, the National Prosecution Guidelines and the Code of Conduct.
The British High Commission Criminal Justice Advisor Jennifer Bairuer said her organization will continue supporting ODPP efforts in fighting wildlife crimes.
The two day workshop brings together various agencies involved in the fight against wildlife crimes including Kenya Wildlife Service, the National Police Service, Kenya Revenue Authority and Kenya Ports Authority among others to share information and experiences on wildlife crimes.