Tag Archives: WildlifeDirect News

Notorious Kenyan Ivory Trafficker Jailed for 20 Years and Fined USD 200,000

Nairobi, 22 July 2016: Today a Mombasa Law Court pronounced judgement in a landmark ruling of Feisal Mohamed Ali and five others.

Feisal Mohamed Ali was found guilty of illegal possession of ivory under Section 95 of the Wildlife Act (2013). He has been sentenced to 20 years in jail and fined 20 million shillings (USD 200,000) – the minimum was 1 million (USD 10,000) and a jail sentence of 20 years (the minimum was 5 years).

The other 5 co-accused were acquitted. Prosecution shall be appealing against the ruling on acquittal of the 5 accused while the defense team of the 6th accused will appeal the conviction and sentence.

The outcome of this case shows Kenya’s seriousness in handling wildlife crime. This is the biggest ivory trafficking case in Kenya’s history and the outcome is being monitored keenly by conservationists and the legal fraternity.
As she handed down her landmark sentence, Judge Hon. Diana Mochache said that poaching is a menace in Kenya. She stated that Kenyans never understood why poaching happens, and declared that one must not wear ivory ornaments. She warned of grave consequences if something is not done drastically to stop the poaching and that children would only know elephants from what they read. She reminded the court that in Kenya, we don’t have many elephants, and that elephants are the source of pride and heritage in Kenya. She noted that elephants are so adored that companies like Nakumatt use the elephant in their branding. But more than150 elephants were killed to supply the ivory involved in this case and she stated that this was why the court must put away the people who commit these crimes.

The trial had been challenged from the start, and has been heard by three different magistrates. Another inquiry connected to this case is ongoing with regards to the tampering of evidence.
Feisal and 5 co-accused were arrested in association with a seizure of 2.1 tons of ivory (314 pieces) on 5th of June 2014. They were charged with illegal possession of ivory under Section 95 of the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act (2013).
“This is an excellent result for the people of Kenya and for elephants. It shows that with the necessary support from KWS, ODPP and the judiciary, a just and powerful result can be delivered. It would have been a better outcome if he was sentenced life imprisonment considering the magnitude of the crime and its implications for wildlife,” said former Director of Public Prosecutions, Philip Murgor.

It is the first time that Kenya has prosecuted a large ivory seizure to conclusion and it sends a very strong message to poachers and traffickers that Kenya will not tolerate them.
WildlifeDirect congratulates the ODPP team whose prosecution was challenged by seven defense lawyers. The case has taken 2 years, and famously involved the arrest of Feisal Mohamed Ali in Tanzania following an Interpol red notice after he escaped Kenya when initially charged. He remained a fugitive for 7 months and was arrested on Christmas Eve in 2014. Feisal is the only accused person in this trial who was held in custody throughout the period despite several attempts to obtain bail.
WildlifeDirect has been watching brief on behalf of civil society, communities that derive their livelihoods from wildlife in Kenya.


WildlifeDirect is a Kenya and US registered charitable organization founded by Richard Leakey and chaired in Kenya by Senior Advocate and former Director of Public Prosecutions, Philip Murgor. WildlifeDirect campaigns for justice for wildlife to ensure Africa’s magnificent wildlife endures forever.

Press contact: Patricia Sewe, Communications Manager, WildlifeDirect
Email: [email protected]


Eyes in the Court transform poaching rates in Kenya

Nairobi, 31 May 2016: WildlifeDirect announces the launch of its second Courtroom Monitoring Report, detailing the outcomes of wildlife crime trials at courts across Kenya during 2014–2015. “By holding the judiciary to account, the programme ‘Eyes in the Courtroom’ provides for the first time, a window into the effectiveness of prosecutions in Kenyan courts, information which has led to major reforms in the charging decisions, filing, and management of wildlife trials”, said Philip Mugor, Chairman of WildlifeDirect-Kenya and former Director of Public Prosecutions.

The report analyses data gathered in 50 courtrooms during the first two years of implementation of the Wildlife Conservation & Management Act, 2013.

An earlier survey by WildlifeDirect concluded that low penalties and corruption in courts made Kenya a safe haven leading to escalating poaching and trafficking of ivory across the country. Since the enactment of the new law with severe penalties, and the implementation of major judicial reforms, poaching rates have collapsed dramatically and Kenya’s elephant populations are now on the rise. WildlifeDirect’s ‘Eyes in the Courtroom’ now reports significant improvements in courtroom record keeping and effectiveness of prosecutions and courts across the country are imposing harsh penalties laid down in the new Wildlife Act. Twice as many people are going to jail than before, and for the first time in history, suspected major ivory traffickers are being prosecuted, most notably Feisal Mohamed Ali who is linked to a seizure of 2.1 tons of ivory seized in the Kenyan port town of Mombasa.

However, the team of lawyers also warn that endemic delays and corruption mean that too many criminals are still walking free from the courts. WildlifeDirect has exposed on numerous occasions the fact that to date no high-level ivory trafficker has been convicted and sentenced by Kenyan courts. The undermining of wildlife trials by corruption is the elephant in the room. Numerous cases are failing due to low level corruption which includes the loss of evidence, witnesses fatigue, loss of files, wrong charges, wrongful conclusions, and illegal penalties. What’s worse is that there are no consequences for those involved in undermining these cases. Virtually none of the officers involved have been disciplined, let alone sacked or prosecuted. What message does it send to fellow officers when a policeman commanding a station gets away with compromising evidence? It’s true that in many cases it’s hard to distinguish corruption from simple inefficiency. But whether the officers involved are complicit in corruption or simply incompetent, it is unacceptable that Kenyan tax payers continue to pay for their salaries.

Efforts must be focussed on investigations, evidence, prosecutions and speedy trial conclusions with deterrent punishments in order for the Kenyan court system to have a decisive deterrent effect on wildlife criminals. “Eyes in the Courtroom is an innovative project with the potential to end the impunity of wildlife criminals not just in Kenya but across Africa. While this latest report gives hope it also highlights just how much remains to be done if these iconic species are to be effectively protected by the law,” said Iain Douglas-Hamilton, Founder of Save the Elephants.
The report concludes that, while much has improved, Kenya has not achieved the desired situation. The research was funded by Save the Elephants.

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WildlifeDirect is a Kenya and US registered charitable organization founded by Richard Leakey and chaired in Kenya by Senior Advocate and former DPP Philip Murgor. We seek justice for wildlife to ensure Africa’s magnificent wildlife endures forever.

Press contact: Patricia Sewe, Communications Manager, WildlifeDirect:
Mobile: +254 705 515709 | Email: [email protected]

Speech: Kitili Mbathi, Director General-KWS

Speech: Philip Murgor, Board Chair-WildlifeDirect (Kenya)

Kenya Airways backs Anti-poaching Campaign


Kenya Airways backs Anti-poaching Campaign

NAIROBI JULY 24, 2013 – Kenya Airways has joined the ‘Hands Off Our Elephants’ campaign that aims at ending elephants poaching and ivory trafficking through Kenya, as well as eliminating demand for the commodity around the world.

The campaign, which is spearheaded by Kenya’s First Lady, Margaret Kenyatta, has been put together by WildlifeDirect, a wildlife conservation charity, to create awareness, engagement and mobilization on the issue within Kenya, across Africa and around the world

Kenya Airways’ Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Titus Naikuni, said that conservation of elephants and other wildlife, is the responsibility of all Kenyan individuals, companies and government agencies.

“Elephants are part of our environment; therefore poaching them harms our country and national heritage. Mother Nature is very unforgiving when we change the balance in the environment. This is the reason we decided to get involved. As Kenya Airways, we do not condone poaching or delivery of poached ivory on our flights, and this message has been passed to our staff and passengers. Any of our staff found involved or abetting poaching will face the consequences,” Dr Naikuni added during a press briefing held in Nairobi.

Speaking during the briefing, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Water and Natural Resources, Judi Wakhungu, said that the government is stepping up anti-poaching efforts by deploying modern technology and modernization of the Kenya Wildlife Service; in addition to establishing a Canine Unit to detect movements of illegal ivory at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi and Moi International Airports in Mombasa.

“The government has also directed that all poaching cases be prosecuted as economic crimes, and revised penalties to higher fines of over Ksh1 million and sentences of over 5 years. Once the new Wildlife Bill is enacted, these penalties and sentences will be enhanced to make them punitive and discourage poaching and ivory traffickers,” Prof Wakhungu added.

The director general of the Vision 2030 delivery board, Mugo Kibati, said that elephants are a major factor in the success of the tourism industry, which is one of the major sectors in the economic pillar of Kenya’s Vision 2030.

“In our Medium Term Plan, we have set out to grow tourist numbers from the current 2 million to 3 million by the year 2017. However, this will not happen if our elephants disappear,” Mr Kibati told the press briefing.

In recent days, there has been a surge in cases of poaching, posing a threat to elephants. According to statistics from the Kenya Wildlife Service, elephant poaching has grown consistently over the last three during which 829 elephants were killed. Last year, Kenya lost 384 elephants to poachers compared to 278 in 2011 and 177 in 2010.

In addition to this, the country has been identified as one of the leading transit routes for smuggling ivory out of Africa, with several incidents of ivory seizures and recovery of wildlife carcasses in recent days. KWS estimates that more than eight tonnes of raw and worked ivory have been seized since 2009.

The demand for ivory in the Far East, particularly China, has attracted criminal cartels to Kenya, who are feeding the insatiable demand. Conservationists warn that unless the demand is extinguished, poachers will wipe out Africa’s elephants.

The CEO of Wildlife Direct, Dr Paula Kahumbu, lauded the government for welcoming the initiative which brings Kenyans together to save the country’s heritage.

“Kenya traditionally has been at the frontline in combating elephant poaching but we have lost that ground in recent years. It is essential that we work together and restore our leadership position in the world to ensuring that we protect our endangered species, and a global heritage. While we crack down on wildlife crime in Kenya, we also need the help of governments of Africa, Thailand, China and US whom we are asking to ban the domestic markets of ivory as legal markets are a cover for laundering illegal ivory. We will also appeal to the hearts of anyone buying ivory in these countries as they are contributing to the slaughter of African elephants,” Dr Kahumbu added.

In February, Kenya Airways signed a deal with Born Free Foundation, an international charity, to contribute towards anti-poaching campaigns and conservation of wildlife conservation in Africa, and partner to raise funds for such initiatives.

Kenya’s Elephants may be extinct in 10 years



2 suspected poachers are arrested in Nairobi as First Lady launches “Hands Off Our Elephants” campaign


Hands Off Our Elephants, says Kenya’s First Lady

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta launches anti-poaching campaign dubbed “Hands Off Our Elephants”http://http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/2013/07/hands-off-our-elephants-says-first-lady/

Thailand seizes 1.4 tons of ivory at airport

via Melissa Groo – Save The Elephants

Thailand seizes 1.4 tons of ivory at airport on tip-off from Qatar

Associated Press
April 21, 2010

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) – Thailand has seized 1.4 tons of elephant tusks, worth more than $2 million, hidden in crates labeled as computer printers, officials said Wednesday.

Thai Customs officials confiscated the 296 tusks Saturday at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, acting on a tip from authorities in Qatar where the ivory was shipped from, said Kornsiri Pinnarat, deputy director-general of the Customs Department… read more.

Kenya wins the first round on ivory

via Melissa Groo

Kenya wins the first round on ivory

WALTER MENYA, Daily Nation
March 18 2010

Elephants were thrown a life line on Thursday after it emerged that Tanzania’s proposal to be allowed to sell ivory is likely to be rejected.

The rejection by conservation agency, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), would be a major victory for the Kenyan elephant, which is facing increasing danger from poachers. Elephants move freely between the Kenyan and Tanzanian game parks along the common border.

The Cites secretariat recommended that Tanzania’s proposal to sell nearly 90 tonnes of stockpiled ivory be turned down. However, Zambia will be allowed to sell its stocks because it has better methods of control poaching, Cites said at their talks in Doha, Qatar.

The recommendation is not final and a decision will be taken by delegates who are gearing to begin debate on the Tanzanian proposal.
Zambia and Tanzania last November asked the Cites secretariat to remove the African elephant from the list of animals facing extinction.

This would mean that trade in ivory was not banned but controlled. The two countries wanted a one-off sale of 112 tonnes of ivory. But the 23-member countries of the African Elephants Coalition, led by Kenya and Mali, opposed the request, saying it would spur poaching.

International Fund for Animal Welfare Southern Africa director Jason Bell-Leask said elephant populations had declined in the past 30 years and were still recovering from the poaching of the 1980s. At the last Cites conference in 2007, a nine-year moratorium on trade in ivory was agreed upon.

“Corruption, the loss of more than 30,000 elephants in three years, all justify rejection of the Tanzania proposal,” Ms Shelley Waterland, the chairperson of the Species Survival Network’s Elephant Working Group, said on Thursday.


At the same time, Cites is urging governments to incorporate the internet and new information and communication technology in protecting fauna and flora. Kenya Wildlife Service runs the Wildlife Anti-Poaching Unit, established by the government with support from the World Bank, the United States, and the European Union. The unit has 19 aircraft, a modern communication system, and 24-hour monitoring teams.

Article at the following link:
Melissa Groo
Save the Elephants News Service Researcher
For further information on elephants please see Save the Elephants’ web site
at http://www.savetheelephants.org

WildlifeDirect News – No 18, March 2010

Following severe drought in Kenya late last year that was particularly harsh on Amboseli National Park in southern part of the country, there was an estimated 80% loss in herbivore numbers in this Park. As a result, lions and other predators that rely on this herbivore population for food have been having a rough time.

To feed themselves and their offspring in light of the decline in prey, they have been raiding cattle bomas and killing livestock. Tension has been mounting and retaliatory lion hunting outings are being carried out by the local Maasai people much more often than before the drought.

To try and diffuse the high human-wildlife tension in the area, the Kenya Wildlife Service has started moving zebras and wildebeests from Soysambu Conservancy in Naivasha to the Amboseli National Park in order to restock the prey population and bring about a balance in the ecosystem. This is one of the stories that we have in this month’s issue of WildlifeDirect News.

We also have the good news of the return of Wild Dogs to the Serengeti after a 20-year absence and the sad news of the death of Mountain Gorilla infant Sekanabo from injuries associated with snaring. We also have a list of other important blog posts coming from the conservation frontline in the last month

Kenya Moves Zebras to Amboseli

During the drought that ravaged this land late last year, many herbivores either died or moved away leaving lions and large predators without much prey. This has resulted in more frequent predation on Maasai cattle. The consequent threat of retaliatory killing of predators by the Maasai has been mounting to highly tense levels.

The KWS recons that the move will provide natural prey for large predators, thus reducing attacks on cattle and eventually diffusing the threat of retaliatory killings.

Paula was on site this weekend and took some amazing pictures of Day 20 of the translocation exercise and posted them on Baraza.

Read more about the expected effect of the translocation on the Lion Guardians blog.

Wild Dogs Return to Serengeti After 20 Years

Photographer captures this important moment in history

A classic example of being at the right place at the right time granted Uwe Skrzypczak a rare chance to photograph the first sighting of Wild Dogs in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, in 20 years. It seems that Wild Dogs had returned to Serengeti – after two decades.

Uwe Skrzypczak, a friend of WildlifeDirect and a photographer whose work mostly covers Serengeti was having lunch at the Ndutu Lodge when he got word that some 7 wild dogs had been spotted near Lake Masek, some 3 km from the lodge. At first skeptical about the sudden appearance of these highly endangered predators, Uwe rushed to the site immediately after, and took amazing photographs. The low resolution versions of these photos were published on Baraza together with his account of how lucky he was on that day.

Wild Dogs are among the most endangered predators in Africa with only a fraction of their original population still remaining. They have suffered persecution for decades and, with the growing human population, their range has shrunk, and is still shrinking.

The return of the dogs into Serengeti is a good sign that perhaps the northern Tanzania park may have again become friendly to this most efficient of hunters.

Donate on Baraza to enable us keep you updated on what is happening in the conservation frontline.

The Death of Sekanabo

Mountain Gorilla infant despite promising vet intervention

An infant Mountain Gorilla of the Kabirizi group in DRC’s Virunga National Park died in early February from what is thought to have been complications from snaring.Virunga rangers had found the male infant, Sekanabo (Nsekanabo) son of the female Tumaini, snared and had been freed.

He was badly injured, presumably by the snare, and the nylon rope snare was still tied tightly to his ankle. Veterinary intervention was deemed necessary.

Gorilla Doctors thus went to the forest, darted both mother and son and treated the wounds. Part of his mouth and nose were badly ripped and needed two layers of stitches to hold together. Once the infant was treated, he was left with his group which was then monitored closely by trackers.

Sekanabo was showing some improvement the following day but by the end of that day, news got to the Gorilla Doctors that the infant had died. An ‘autopsy’ would follow to determine the cause of death.

You can support Gorilla Doctors’ work by donating on their blog.

News Snapshots

Things you need to know

Stay up to date – check what’s happening in the new WildlifeDirect Breaking News page. It’s new – but we’ll be keeping it updated.

WildlifeDirect News – No. 17, February 2010

We have finally launched our redesigned website and despite a few technical hitches at the beginning, we can proudly say that we are making progress. We switched to the modern look and tech platform because the old system did not allow us to add new services that would enrich your visit to the site. We invite you to visit the site and explore and tell us what you think.

As we were doing the site, conservation challenges and successes did not stop happening to our bloggers. Limbe Wildlife Center for instance recieved 1000 rescued parrots. The ivory question, as it always does, has again entered center stage as the date of the 2010 CITES (CoP15) meeting draws near.

In the list of links that will give you a glimpse into what you may have missed from the site are various good and bad news. We like to serve a good mix of news. But we serve it as it happens.

Read on for what we gathered from the conservation frontline.

WildlifeDirect Completes Web Redesign

WildlifeDirect Homepage

The much anticipated redesign of the WildlifeDirect website has been completed. It is indeed a milestone as we have been working on the redesign for months. This is a completely new website and as is usually the case with changes that involve tinkering with the technological end of things, we had a few hitches. Most of these have now been resolved and our dedicated team of techies are working daily to make the ride as smooth as possible for you.

There are many new features that we believe will be useful to you and to the bloggers. New features such as the WildlifeTrackers, the MyWLD forum, Resources, and Multimedia will enrich your experience in the web once they become fully operational.
We thank you all and especially those of you who gave us feedback soon after launching the site. We hope you will be able to go in and explore the new features, enjoy and give us your input.

For a more detailed explanation of what is in the new site go read this post on Baraza blog

Getting Ready for The Battle for the Elephant

Conservationists prepare to oppose Tanzania/Zambia propoIllegal ivory in Kenyasals.

The 15th Conference of Parties to CITES (CoP15) promises to bring the same fireworks that each of the many previous meetings have brought as the ivory question again takes center stage. The Battle for the Elephant this time will be between the perennial brawler Kenya and its allies on the one hand and the two new rivals Tanzania and Zambia on the other hand.

Zambia and Tanzania have each submitted separate proposals to the CITES Secretariat asking for the down-listing of their elephants from Appendix I to Appendix II of the CITES Red List thus allowing them to trade in their stockpiled ivory. Kenya as usual is against any trade in ivory and has submitted a proposal to extend the moratorium on trade from the 9 years agreed on in CoP14 in 2008 to a longer 20-year no ivory trade period.

Kenya is leading a large group of African Elephant range states including Congo, Ghana, Liberia, Mali and Sierra Leone in their proposals. African states supporting the no-trade proposal are more than these six and have formed the African Elephant Coalition (AEC) that will vote yes to the no-trade proposal and no to the Zambia/Tanzania proposals.

Kenyan conservationists have formed the Kenya Elephant Forum to work together with the AEC to lobby global CITES representatives to vote for no-trade.

The battle lines are drawn – get ready for some bruising

Follow the unfolding story on Baraza and on our new Ban Ivory blogs.

Massive Smuggling of African Grey Parrots

Cameroonian authorities confiscate1000 parrots in Douala

Confiscated parrotsAt Douala Airport on 1 February 2010 some 1000 African Grey Parrots were confiscated on transit to Kuwait and Bahrain with an Ethiopian Airlines way bill. This is the largest consignment of parrots ever nabbed in Cameroon in what officers at the Limbe Wildlife Center perceive to be an escallating illegal trade racket.

The parrots were transferred to Limbe on 2 February for care and rehabilitation before being released back into the forests of Cameroon. This is not the first consignment of confiscated parrots that Limbe has recieved. Recently, in November and December, hundreds of confiscated parrots were brought to Limbe with the December batch consisting of 503 parrots. It’s only on 29 December 2009 that they released the first batch of 45 rehabilitated parrots.

Before they could release the rest, or even clean out the feathers and poop, from the rehab cages, 1000 more arrived. The good people at Limbe are frustrated by the scale of smuggling going on in Cameroon. They are also feeling the strain of taking in the poor birds and they need all the help they can get to feed and care for the new birds.

You can support Limbe’s work by donating in their blog.

News Snapshots

Things you need to know

  • Rhino poached in Kenya
  • Volcano erupts near home of mountain gorillas
  • Head count for Zimbabwe’s Wild Dogs
  • How your donations helped CERCOPAN in 2009
  • What lies ahead for the Maasai
  • Bushmeat in the City – Nairobi’s ‘nyama choma’ risk
  • Two of the ‘Kivu four’ chimps join the main group
  • Five lions moved to Gonarezhou, Zimbabwe
  • Stay up to date – check what’s happening in the new WildlifeDirect Breaking News page. It’s new – but we’ll keep it up to date.