Should Animal Poachers Face the Death Penalty?

It's a wildly debated topic in politics. Should a man or woman that takes the life of an innocent endangered creature be sentenced to the death penalty? 

Najib Balala has been warning the world that wildlife poachers in Kenya will be facing the death penalty in the near future. Fortunately for conservationists and endangered animals around the world, that day has finally come. 

"Existing deterrents against killing wild animals in the east African nation are insufficient," Mr Balala said, according to China’s Xinhua news agency.

The bold move could put Kenya in conflict with the UN, which opposes the death penalty for all crimes worldwide. UN General Assembly resolutions have called for a phasing-out of capital punishment, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights advocates its universal abolition.

Should wildlife abusers receive capital punishment? 

“We have in place the Wildlife Conservation Act that was enacted in 2013 and which fetches offenders a life sentence or a fine of US $200,000,” Mr Balala reportedly said. “However, this has not been deterrence enough to curb poaching, hence the proposed stiffer sentence."

What does the data say? What happens when stricter wildlife laws are put into place?

“Past enforcement efforts led to an 85 per cent reduction in rhino poaching and a 78 per cent reduction in elephant poaching, respectively, in 2017 compared to when poaching was at its peak in 2013 and 2012 respectively,” the ministry said.

The ministry pointed out that this was only data for Kenya, and that many other nations are having trouble with keeping poaching numbers down. 

The report of plans for capital punishment prompted sharply diverging reactions, with some social-media users applauding Kenya and calling it “fantastic news”, and others insisting it should never happen.

Kenya is especially heartbroken after losing Sudan, the last male white rhino this year. 

For years, many people have angrily demanded the death penalty for all animal abusers, but many others feel as if the authorities should go after the "kingpin" animal traffickers instead of the henchmen helping them. 

Richard Vigne, head of Kenya's Ol Pejeta Conservancy that was home to Sudan, has stated that Sudan has become a beacon for the world. A sign that it's time for humanity to get #SeriousAboutWildlifeCrime.

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