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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Kenya Wildlife Service partners with conservation
lobby to boost prosecution of poachers   

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s wildlife agency on Friday launched a new partnership with local conservation lobby, Space for Giants, to enhance speedy prosecution of criminals involved in slaughter of iconic mammals for their trophies.

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said the partnership will involve increasing the number of highly skilled lawyers charged with prosecution of organized criminal gangs involved in illegal trade in wildlife products.

Acting KWS Director General Julius Kimani hailed the new initiative to strengthen the capacity of Para-legal officers to prosecute wildlife crimes.

“While we have put in place policies, mechanisms and structures to deal with the menace of poaching and illegal trade in wildlife products, our efforts will not succeed unless we join hands with stakeholders in tackling these challenges,” Kimani said.

He added that strategic collaboration with key partners in surveillance, prosecution and law enforcement has led to a drastic reduction in wildlife crimes in Kenya.

“Our collective effort is the surest way to deal with perpetrators of wildlife crime. We have started witnessing the fruits of new wildlife act in confronting poaching of rhinos and elephants,” said Kimani.

Under the new partnership with Space for Giants, KWS will create a specialized prosecution unit comprising 12 lawyers who will benefit from skills upgrade to enhance their capacity to prosecute individuals accused of poaching.

Kimani said a critical pool of highly trained prosecutors with a refined grasp of wildlife laws is key to containing the menace of poaching that pose serious threat to survival of giant mammals.

The Space for Giants on its part will provide extensive training to KWS legal and forensic experts in a bid to boost apprehension and prosecution of criminals involved in illegal trafficking of wildlife products.

Max Graham, the CEO of Space for Giants, underscored the critical role of a well equipped prosecution unit at KWS to reenergize war on poaching.

“A ranger in the field should not have to experience the frustration of confronting a wildlife criminal they arrested a week earlier walking free again because of a failed prosecution. This is a critical step up in the battle against illegal wildlife trade,” Graham said.

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