Xinhua
August 8, 2019

NAIROBI: Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) on Thursday launched the construction
of a state-of-the-art facility that will be used to preserve exhibits
required to prosecute criminals involved in illegal trade in wildlife
products.

The evidence storage room, whose construction will be financed by Africa
Wildlife Foundation (AWF) to the tune of 5 million shillings (50,000 U.S
dollars), will boost prosecution of poachers and ivory traffickers.

“A modern storage facility for exhibits that are perishable will enhance
prosecution of individuals who are accused of involvement in wildlife
crimes,” said Philip Muruthi, vice president for Species Conservation at
AWF. He said the modern exhibit storage facility will boost Kenya’s efforts
to eradicate poaching of iconic mammals like elephants and rhinos through
speedy prosecution of offenders.

“The evidence room will promote the broader wildlife conservation agenda in
Kenya through curbing illegal trade in trophies, “said Muruthi. He lauded
Kenya’s success in the war against poaching thanks to enhanced patrols in
wildlife sanctuaries and community engagement but urged greater action on
trafficking of wildlife products through the country’s ports of entry.

Muruthi said that AWF will support construction of additional evidence
storage facilities in wildlife sanctuaries spread across the vast Kenyan
plains.

John Waweru, director general of KWS said the government has prioritized
investments in technology and manpower required to boost tracking, arrest
and prosecution of poachers.

“The importance of a modern storage facility for exhibits cannot be
underestimated as the country renew the war against wildlife crimes,” said
Waweru.

It will help us deal with loss or tampering of evidence that has hampered
prosecution of criminals who are slaughtering giant land mammals for their
trophies,” he added.

Nancy Kabete, acting director for Security at KWS said that construction of
the evidence storage room will raise the bar in prosecution of wildlife
crimes amid Kenya’s push for total ban on global ivory trade. “The facility
will go a long way in ensuring the Chain of Custody is not interfered with,
which will meet the stringent international standards of how to deal with
exhibits and present them in court,” said Kabete.

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