INTERNATIONAL ANIMAL TROPHY TRAFFICKING: A CASE OF KENYA

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Globally,  survival  of  wildlife  in  many  range  states  is  threatened  by  animal  trophy trafficking.  The  trafficking  has  reached  unprecedented  levels  with  large  volumes  of animal trophies being intercepted in various parts of the world many of which originate from the African range states including Kenya. The study seeks to investigate why international animal trophy trafficking continues despite an established state agency responsible  for the protection and conservation  of wildlife in Kenya. Specifically,  this study seeks to examine the nature and status of international animal trophy trafficking in the  world;  assess  the  efficacy  of  existing  global,  regional  and  national  legal  and institutional  frameworks  in  addressing  trophy  trafficking;  examine  the  factors  that influence  the rise of international  animal trophy trafficking in Kenya; and analyse the impact  of  international  trophy  trafficking  on  national  security.  This  study  utilizes liberalism and rational choice theories. The liberalism theory guides this study in studying the cooperation among the multiple actors in international trophy trafficking. Moreover, with  sustained  motivation  for  animal  trophy  trafficking  despite  known  penalties,  the rational theory guides this study in finding out the reasons motivating involvement in this trade despite  the enacted  laws and creation  on institutions  in the fight against  animal trophy trafficking. This study hypothesizes that animal trophy trafficking is rampant internationally; securing wildlife is dependent upon effectiveness of the international community,  institutional  frameworks  and other actors discharging  their mandates;  and that a relationship exists between international trophy trafficking and national security. This  study  adopted  a  descriptive  whose  target  population  are  employees  of  Kenya Wildlife Service and selected conservation NGOs with the data being captured through a semi  structured  questionnaire.  Both  descriptive  and  inferential  statistics  are  used  in analyzing  the data. Findings  indicates  that drivers  of trophy trafficking  are similar  to those that drive other crimes including globalization, improved communication, underdevelopment  and government  laxity.  Findings  show  that challenges  that prevent deterrence to trophy trafficking originate from societal and cultural situations, national government law orientations and enforcement. Findings indicate that international animal trophy trafficking is rampant globally and ineffectiveness by the government in managing the crime is the greatest factor that influence the rising trends in trophy trafficking. From the findings, legal and institutional frameworks existing at global, regional and national levels  have  varying  degree  of effectiveness  in the  execution  of the enacted  laws and legislations which result into gaps that are exploited by the criminal syndicates regardless of  the  commitment   and  cooperation   between  countries  towards  the  promotion   of preventive intervention. These findings are in tandem with the liberalism and neoliberal theories because even for those states with adequate laws, governance is marred with self- interests perpetrated  by anarchy due to absence of political authority and cooperation. This  study  further  established  that  animal  trophy  trafficking  has  effects  on  national security. This study recommends that animal trophy trafficking be framed as a national security issue that needs global response through well interlinked governance systems in both source and consumer states. The existing loopholes in collaborative  arrangements between the respective  global, regional,  and national agencies  be streamlined  so as to effectively execute provisions in various legislations deterring animal trophy trafficking. Considering  that this study was conducted at the Kenya Wildlife Service and selected conservation NGOs, responses adopted may be biased due to contextual differences. This

 

study recommends that a similar study is done cutting across other wildlife range states to allow for broader generalization and comparison of findings.

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PROF. AMB. MARIA NZOMO
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