Poachers who will be convicted of killing rare games like lions and rhinos will now have to serve a 30 year jail term without an option for a fine soon after the anti-poaching laws are finalised, a senior government official has said.
Raphius Lipiya, a senior official at Wildlife Department said this Sunday when he presided over the formation of liason committee for Nkhotakota game reserve that will help fight poaching.
“The government is repealing all archaic laws and this process is nearly completion,” said Lipiya after it was discovered that last year, the game reserve realised a meagre K1.6 million because the reserve is no longer a tourist attraction because it has no game due to extensive poaching.
“Those convicted of killing lions, rhinos, buffaloes, elephants and other rare game will serve a 30 year prison without an option of fine,” he said.
He said the minimum sentence for wildlife crimes will be K100000 or three years imprisonment with hard labour.
Lipiya said current punishment for wildlife related crimes is too lenient that it encourages people to go for more poaching.
Nkhotakota game reserve is run by Africa Safari Parks on a 20 year concession along with the government on public private partnership arrangement.
During the meeting, it was learnt that last year alone, there were 79 arrests made in relationship to wildlife crimes and there were nine fires that nearly destroyed the game reserve.
Officials from the Africa Safari Parks said they are now restocking the reserve with more animals to put it to national and international standards so that it can be one of the greatest forex earner through tourism.
They said they are currently fencing it before bringing in an extra 400 elephants.