Kenyan Government Protects Poachers: What Happens to the Wild Cats?

Elephant Serengeti. Photo: Feans
Richard Leakey, one of the world's best known conservationists tells us that the Kenyan government is working with (yes, not against) poachers. This is a classic example of the well rehearsed dark-side of governments the world over which continues to have a catastrophic impact on wild species living in the wild.

Leakey refers to the ivory of elephants and the horns of rhino which feed the insatiable market in China but it could equally well be the bones of a lion from the plains of the Serengeti. The body parts of these glorious and increasingly precious species of popular wild animals are desired by many people. The more they are killed the rarer they become and in turn more desirable; one of the distortions of human existence.

Richard Leakey is the founder of the Kenya Wildlife Service. He says he is convinced that the Kenyan government knows who the criminals are.

The "last great wildlife species" are being slaughtered because of corruption in high places. Wasn't it ever thus but it won't change. We read these stories year-in-year-out and nothing changes in the long run, which tells me the end of poaching can only happen at the end of these species in the wild.

The reason why governments are involved in poaching themselves is because either (a) they are the poachers or (b) they get a skim-off from the profit of the poachers.

There may also be a link between wildlife trade, corruption and terrorism as the funds generated might be supporting terrorists groups says United States Trade Representative Michael Froman.

Leakey took an uncompromising stand against poaching in his role as the former head of the Kenya Wildlife Service. For example, he persuaded the then president of Kenya to burn their 12 ton ivory stock pile. They used to shoot at poachers on sight. Not anymore.

Leakey is the victim of a plane crash in 1993. He lost his legs. Was it sabotage? He has enemies. These criminals will stop at nothing. The money is big. The devastation to wildlife is also big.

It seems that Leakey doesn't know who the perpetrators are otherwise he would have gone to the police. Perhaps he knows that it is pointless because the police are corrupt as well.

John Scanlon of CITES states that the African elephants are under threat of extinction in the wild. Shocking isn't it? This is an iconic creature. The world just watches and waits for the inevitable. We are too wrapped up in our own mess i.e. the rise of Al Qaeda terrorism, which will affect us all even if it is thousands of miles away from people in the West.

Big business pays poor Africans a pittance compared to their profits to poison elephants and wild cat species. Most of the ivory (a better description is the tusks of an elephant) is shipped to China.
If we are honest the corruption almost certainly runs through every aspect of government; local and national, police and customs. It is so deeply entrenched it is impossible to stop and therefore it is impossible to stop the demise of the iconic wild species of Africa.

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