ILLEGAL TRADE

3,000kg of suspected bushmeat recovered in Nairobi

Three suspects arrested and others are on the run after abandoning their stalls

In Summary

• Those arrested arraigned, face charges of dealing in and possession of bushmeat and selling uninspected meat. 

• Most of the illegal meat costs Sh230 to Sh250 per kg, below the market rate of Sh400 per kg. 

Suspected bush meat seized by a joint security team on September 12
THREE ARRESTED: Suspected bush meat seized by a joint security team on September 12
Image: COURTESY

Authorities have recovered an estimated 3,000kg of suspected bush meat following a raid at six stalls in Nairobi.

Traders were busted following a collaboration between Kenya Wildlife Service, the police, public health, county government, and the veterinary department.

Three suspects were arrested while others are on the run after abandoning their stalls in the Thursday raid.  

Nine deep freezers, knives, weighing scales, electric mincer, meat hooks and hacksaws were recovered.

KWS said the meat poses a great danger to the public and wildlife. 

"The suspects have been arraigned this morning to answer to charges of dealing, being in possession of bushmeat and selling uninspected meat among other charges," KWS said in a statement.

Bushmeat trade is illegal and anyone arrested faces a jail term of not less than three years without the option of a fine.

Most of the illegal meat costs Sh230 to Sh250 per kg, below the market rate of Sh400 per kg, KWS said. 

"The meat is also deboned to disguise the source. The main market seems to be wholesale buyers known to the suppliers. The meat is suspected to have been from the illegal killing of zebras, giraffes and buffalos."

In August, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) gave zebra more protection. 

Trading in it or its products must be controlled to avoid utilisation incompatible with their survival. 

The bushmeat has been mainly sourced from expansive ranches in Narok, Kajiado, Machakos and Nakuru counties.

Bushmeat is not only a major threat to wildlife but also is associated with an increased risk of acquiring zoonotic diseases such as Ebola virus and anthrax.

"The public is warned against buying meat from suspicious outlets, especially those operating without licenses," KWS said. 

The service said it is liaising closely with relevant authorities especially the Public Health and Veterinary departments to ensure meat outlets are regularly inspected and licensed as per existing laws and regulations.

"We are deploying a number of strategies to address the challenge, including heightened security patrols to curb poaching, " the statement said. 

KWS urged wananchi to report any suspected cases of poaching or bushmeat trading to the nearest KWS officers or other law enforcement agencies. 

This can be reported through a toll-free number +254 0800 597 000. 

Edited by R.Wamochie 

Security team during the operation September 12
RAID IN SIX STALLS: Security team during the operation September 12
Image: COURTESY