Friday, November 20, 2009

Man arrested in sting operation with game trophies

By DANIEL NYASSY

A 37-year-old man in Malindi was caught in a sting operation when he attempted to sell game trophies to KWS officers posing as customers.

Mr Garama Mathayo Kondo’s bid to fetch several thousands of shillings, or US dollars, flopped when the Kenya Wildlife Service officers pounced on him just minutes before he delivered a consignment of game trophies at the Malindi airport on Thursday.

He was found in possession of five game trophies worth Sh 100,000 in the streets. The suspected game trophies dealer was nabbed at the entrance to the airport with three python skins and two leopard skins when the officers posed as potential buyers who could pay him more than his intended client.

Deputy Warden in charge of Malindi Marine Park Mr Stephen Kamerino said the suspect also had two leopard skins apart from the python skins.

”One of the python skins was the biggest to be recovered in more than five years. That animal could have been more than 15 years old,” he said.

“There seems to be a booming market for game trophies in Malindi especially among tourists since the business has become rampant in the region,” said the officer.

The seizure was the third in two months in Malindi. All the former suspects were arrested with leopard and savor cat skins and python skins among other trophies. They have been arraigned in court.

”The most targeted and endangered animals are the pythons and leopards which we suspect could be poached from Tsavo East National Park,” said Mr Kamerino.

He said KWS officers were trying hard to work with members of the public to stamp out the practice and asked anyone with information to inform the department.

Mr Kamerino said the suspect would be taken to court any time to answer charges of being in possession of game trophies illegally.