‘CONSERVATIONIST’ ARRESTED FOR IVORY POSSESSION – CLAIMES CONSPIRACY BY KWS
Information was received from Nairobi that a Deputy Director of the Amboseli Trust for Elephants, Mrs. Susan Soila and her son Robert were arrested on Sunday in Emali, after being found with ivory in their car weighing around 19 kilograms.
The two were reportedly produced in court on Monday where they denied the charged before being released on bail, with an initial hearing date set as for the 17th of June. Prominent Nairobi based lawyer Philip Murgor, retained by the pair, was quoted by the source as having highlighted that one of the accused is a prominent conservationist in Kenya and suggested that his client has ‘rubbed KWS the wrong way’ – a statement which will no doubt trigger a response from the Kenya Wildlife Service top management, which, considering the time of uploading this report, was unavailable for comment.
Poaching of elephant across Eastern Africa, but in particular in Tanzania – the worst hit in the region – has been on the upswing over the past years, fueled by the skyrocketing demand for ivory in China, Vietnam and other Far Eastern countries, and aided by weak legislation which regularly sees persons convicted of ivory smuggling for instance go free after paying a paltry fine.
The conservation fraternity in the region has demanded that the respective wildlife laws be amended to provide for crippling financial fines, confiscation of the property of those convicted of commercial style poaching and long prison terms of 10 years and more. Kenya was not spared by the poaching menace as last year, according to official figures, nearly 400 elephant were slaughtered – figures incidentally disputed as too low by sections of the conservation community – while this year the unconfirmed count already stands at nearly 100, going by summed up figures from media reports seen over the past few months.
Watch this space for updates on this latest twist in the tail of the ongoing poaching sagas coming from Kenya.