Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Deputy director of Kenyan elephant trust charged with illegal possession of ivory

By Kevin Heath, May 13th, 2013 One of the top officials of an elephant campaigning group in Kenya has been charged with illegal possession of ivory after 19Kg of ivory was found in the back of her car. Her son has also been jointly charged. Soila Sayialel is the deputy director of Kenyan campaign group Amboseli Trust for Elephants and was in charge of the community development arm of the charity. The group operates in the Kenyan Amboseli National Park. Sayialel and her son was arrested on Sunday and charged three counts of having ivory without permission. They have today been released on bail and will be pleading not guilty when their trial comes to court on June 17th. Robert Sayialel also worked for the Amboseli Trust for Elephants as a Technical Support Assistant.The couple were stopped by police about 90 miles south of Nairobi and the tusks discovered in the back of the car. The value of the ivory was estimated to be about US$20,000. The Trust has released a short statement in support of their employees but are consulting with lawyers before making any further comment. Soila claims that they have been framed by officials of the Kenyan Wildlife Service because of their work in protecting elephants. The Amboseli Trust for Elephants has an administrative, fund-raising and advocacy office in the United States, a program management office in Nairobi, and a field research office and camp in Amboseli national park. The Nairobi office provides a base for administration, project support and field support. It has been working with and studying the elephants of the park since 1972. The details of the three charges are: being in possession of Government trophies, dealing in trophies without a dealers’ license and failing to make a report of the trophies to the authorities. A KWS spokesman, Paul Mbugua, has said that the investigation into ivory poaching has been widened to include the Amboseli Trust for Elephants. “We have launched investigations into the activities of the Trust and once we find that it is engaging in wildlife related crimes then action will be taken against it,” warned Mbugua. Source: Wildlife News

1 comment:

  1. That is very sad, but South Africa needs to start digging for those involved at the top rungs of the government!!