Tourism players in poaching protest

Last updated on 6 Feb 2013 00:00

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By LINAH BENYAWA

Mombasa, Kenya: Tourism stakeholders in Mombasa are demanding for the classification of wildlife poaching as economic sabotage and a special prosecutor appointed to prosecute poachers.

The tourism stakeholders yesterday held a peaceful procession in the Coast against renewed poaching in Kenya, which has begun to affect the economy.

They demanded that poaching should be prosecuted under the Economic Crimes Act that metes out stringent penalties on poachers and anyone who benefits from proceeds of the crime.The stakeholders expressed concern over the rising threat to wildlife in key conservation areas.They also demanded action on smuggling of ivory and animal trophies through the country’s air and seaports, including in Mombasa.

The stakeholders included Mombasa and Coast Tourist Association (MCTA), Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers and Kenya Association of Tour Operators.

Led by the chairman of the MCTA Mohammed Hersi, they said the country was losing a vital tourist attraction while those involved in the trade earn billions from the illicit ivory. “The continued killings of our elephants and rhinos is a great concern to us in the tourism sector and we wish to voice our discontent at the manner in which the whole matter is being handled,” said Hersi.

These protests took place barely one month after the seizure of 638 pieces of ivory valued at Sh100 million at the port of Mombasa.

The seizure in January was said to be one of the biggest haul to have been impounded at the port in recent years following the record killing of elephants at the Tsavo and Meru national parks.

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