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'Surrender illegal wildlife trophies in 21 days'

COUNTIES
By Jacob Ngetich | March 31st 2016

The Government yesterday offered a 21-day amnesty for the surrender of any wildlife trophies held without permit.

Environment and Natural Resources Cabinet Secretary Judi Wakhungu said the amnesty was effective from yesterday.

Prof Wakhungu urged anybody holding any ivory, rhino horn or any other wildlife trophies, jewellery or trinkets made from these materials to surrender them to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) director general's office.

"In the spirit of the upcoming ivory and rhino horn burn, I would like to offer a 21-day amnesty for the surrender of any wildlife trophies. I promise whoever takes advantage of this amnesty will not be punished," said Wakhungu.

Speaking during the launch of preparations for the trophy burning at the KWS headquarters in Nairobi, the CS said the items could also be surrendered to assistant directors at KWS regional offices in Mombasa, Voi, Nyeri, Marsabit, Kitale, Nakuru, and Meru National Park.

The setting ablaze of the illegal trophies will take place on April 30 led by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

"Although the destruction of ivory and rhino horn will not in itself put an end to the illegal trade in these items, it demonstrates Kenya's commitment to seeking a total global ban in the trade of ivory and rhino horn," she said.

She said the Government has attached great significance to the burning and that event would attract global conservationists.

The CS said the killing of elephants and rhinos, and the illegal wildlife trade was a major problem across the continent that needs a concerted effort to defeat.

Poaching is facilitated by an international criminal syndicate that fuels corruption, undermines the rule of law, and in some cases provides funding for other criminal activities.

"Poaching not only harms the sustainable economic development of local communities but also national economies," she said.

Kenya has in the past three years redoubled her efforts and relentlessly implemented a number of measures directed at combating elephant poaching and the illegal trade in ivory within and across her borders.

Such efforts have included the implementation of a National Ivory Action Plan (Niap) that focuses on the formulation of effective wildlife legislation with heavy penalties.

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