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Wildlife poaching in Kenya is not punishable by death

December 27, 2019 GMT

CLAIM: Kenya has instituted the death penalty for all wildlife poaches regardless of nationality. 

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. There is no death penalty in Kenya. Poachers in Kenya face fines and prison sentences.

THE FACTS: A post resurfaced on Facebook falsely claiming that Kenya has introduced the death penalty to combat wildlife poaching.

“Kenya has introduced a law that would institute death penalty for all wildlife poachers regradless of their nationality,” the post published on Thursday states, misspelling “regardless.”

In the last year, multiple false posts have appeared on social media alleging that Kenya has introduced the death penalty for wildlife poaching. Last May, a number of outlets published false information that poachers in Kenya will face capital punishment. The Supreme Court of Kenya ruled in 2017 that making the death penalty a mandatory punishment is unconstitutional. The last known execution in Kenya was carried out in the 1980s, according to Cornell Law School’s Death Penalty database.

“The fact remains that death penalty has not and is not under consideration for punishing wildlife crime in Kenya,” Paul Udoto of the Kenya Wildlife Service told the AP in an email. 

There were updates made to Kenya’s existing wildlife laws that came into effect in January 2019. The changes mostly detailed the length of prison sentences depending on the nature of the crime. 

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According to Kenya’s Wildlife Conservation and Management Act of 2013, “Any person who keeps or is found in possession of a wildlife trophy or deals in a wildlife trophy, or manufactures any item from a trophy without a permit” faces a fine or prison.

Due to a growing demand for African ivory and rhino horn for international buyers, especially from Asian countries, Kenya ramped up its efforts to combat wildlife poaching. In addition to slapping smugglers and poachers with steep fines and even life imprisonment, Kenya increased military training for rangers. In April 2016, authorities confiscated piles and piles of ivory from poachers. The government burned over 100 tons of elephant tusk ivory from 8,000 illegally killed elephants.

 

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536