By Silvanus M. Kiilu, The Kenya News Agency
A court in Voi town on Monday sentenced a middle-aged man to five years in prison after finding him guilty of being in possession of two pieces of ivory weighing 13.7 kg contrary to section 95 of the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act, 2013.
The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officers arrested the suspect, Clinton Warunga in October last year while weighing the exhibit with full intention of selling it at Zongwani area of Mgeno Ranch in Taita Taveta County.
A cross examination carried on the trophies by the Tsavo wildlife specialist, Dr. Jeremiah Pogon revealed that the exhibit was indeed elephant tusks.
In mitigation, Warunga said his upbringing was tough because he has never seen his parents. He pointed out that he earned his living through boda boda business and claimed he had been set up by a close friend.
He said he used to ride over 50 kilometres in search of water every day for his children, adding that his family was suffering, since he was their only provider.
In her ruling, the Chief Magistrate, Ellen Nderitu said that everyone had a duty to protect our wildlife because it generates a lot of revenue to our country. She added that wildlife was also part of national heritage and contributed to the aesthetic beauty of our country.
“Every one of us benefits from our wildlife, weather directly or indirectly, and therefore we must protect our wild animals,” she said.
The suspect was given fourteen days to appeal.