Cabinet Secretary for Environment Professor Judi Wakhungu made the announcement in Nairobi as the government embarked on softer approaches to contain the menace of illicit trade in wildlife products.
“In the spirit of the upcoming ivory and rhino horn burn, I would like to offer a 21 day amnesty for the surrender of any wildlife trophies which are held without permit,” said Wakhungu.
She added the amnesty will be enforced immediately as part of a range of incentives to discourage local and foreign citizens from buying wildlife products from illicit markets.
“Anybody holding any ivory, rhino horns or any other wildlife trophies or jewelry or trinkets made from these materials should surrender them to authorities,” Wakhungu remarked, adding that officials from Kenya wildlife service will coordinate this effort.
The East African nation has intensified efforts to combat illicit trade in wildlife products through improved surveillance, deterrent laws and public awareness.
President Uhuru Kenyatta will on April 30 torch 120 tonnes of ivory to reinforce Kenya’s commitment to eradicate the menace of poaching.
Wakhungu revealed that Kenyatta will be joined by several African presidents from elephant range states during the ceremony to burn the trophies.
“We remain committed to ensuring that elephants and rhinos are accorded the highest level of protection. The burning of ivory and horn demonstrates our commitment to a total ban on trade in these products,” Wakhungu told reporters.
She clarified the state amnesty on individuals who surrender wildlife products will not dilute legal measures to combat poaching of iconic mammals.
“Heavy penalties will still be meted on individuals accused of wildlife crimes,” Wakhungu said.