Illegal Cross Border Bushmeat Trade

Illegal Cross Border Bushmeat Trade

30/06/2020 Latest News 0


If you consume meat-based foods in the local hotels within Garissa and the region along the Kenya-Somalia border, there is a high chance you might have unintentionally eaten bushmeat. Particularly giraffes that for unknown reasons have been the target for the bushmeat trade. This illegal enterprise is purported to be very lucrative for instance, the giraffe meat is allegedly sold at Ksh 1500 ($ 15) per kilogram (2.2 pounds) while the same amount of beef goes for Ksh 500 ($ 5).

Although illegal, the cross border bushmeat trade has become a hard nut to crack. Fueled by the standing insecurity issues among other repetitive facts such as floods in this region, poachers continue to mercilessly slaughter endangered wildlife species such as the reticulated giraffe and the critically endangered hirola. Unfortunately, due to its illegal and elusive nature, it has been hard to track the activities revolving around this illegal cross border bushmeat trade. However, we have gathered some information on the reasons it seems widespread; North of our conservation sites lies the world’s largest refugee camp, Dadaab, which fuels poaching as most of the refugees subsist on bushmeat and illegal harvesting of plant-based resources. Occasionally, we receive news from the Garissa County commissioner on incidences of donkey carts caught ferrying giraffe meat to the refugee camps.

East of Garissa lies Somalia which is overrun by suspected armed militias. The militia make forays into Kenya and also facilitate several illegal activities in our conservation sites. A similar trend has been reported in the south of Garissa, close to the Ishaqbini Hirola Conservancy, where floods from the Tana river often push people to conservation areas; while communities from the neighbouring County in the west of Tana river cross over to kill animals to help them survive. As we have gathered, the bushmeat further makes its way to Somalia, preserved through the indigenous Somali methods locally known as Nyirinyiri or Othkaah, packed in 20 litres jerrycans and are allegedly sold to organized criminal groups. We have since made a series of arrests with the most recent case of three individuals believed to have been the perpetrators of the gruesome killings of giraffes in Garissa County.

The destination of the meat from this particular incident suspected to be Nairobi and Mombasa cities. The two men alongside the meat recovered were taken into police custody at Masalani Police Station. Our director and founder, Dr. Ali, noted that the recent arrest was a step in the right direction to protect biodiversity within the Horn of Africa.