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.