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KWS officers raid private snake park

By | February 26th 2011

By Antony Gitonga

Officers from Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) raided a private snake park in Naivasha and recovered various types of reptiles.

The officers also closed down the popular Kanji Snake Park in Kongoni area accusing the proprietor of contravening various wildlife laws.

The operation that started at 4am saw the officers recover seventeen different types of snakes and eight tortoises.

The officers moved into the structures where the snakes were coiled and carted them into a waiting car after putting them into gunny bags.

KWS senior warden in charge of regulatory and compliance Ms Margaret Mosse said they had revoked the license in line with the provisions of the Wildlife Act.

According her, the proprietor had continued to acquire snakes from the wild without permission from KWS.

"He has acquired 18 snakes and disposed off 19 of them to unknown place and this is against the law," she said.

She expressed her concern that the snakes could have been sold to the black market, which was gaining popularity in the country.

Mosse said that despite advice from KWS, the trader had failed to improve the cages that were holding the snakes.

"We have advised him to reinforce the viewing glasses for the safety of the visitors but he has failed to heed the directive," she added.

The warden said that in the last couple of months, the country had been losing reptiles mainly snakes and chameleons to the black market.

"We have seen an increase in reptile trade and this has been confirmed by the number of specimens recovered in the airport," she said.

The park proprietor Samuel Mwangi ‘Kanji’ expressed his disappointment at the move saying that he had fulfilled all the KWS requirements.

"I have the required license and the snakes conditions is better than those found in the National Museum," he said.

He said that he planned to appeal adding that he saw business rivalry in the move to close down his snake park.


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