13.5 Tonnes Of Sandalwood Destroyed In Nairobi

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Kenya's Cabinet secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry, Mrs. soipan Tuya, on Tuesday oversaw the destruction of 13.5 tonnes of sandalwood in Nairobi.

The woods, extracted from endangered species of trees around the country's forests, were seized during various sting operations in Samburu County, north-central Kenya.

While making her remarks, Tuya said that the exercise is very symbolic and demonstrates the commitment and teamwork of the various stakeholders present to break illicit networks that continuously seek to benefit from the growing illicit trade of sandalwood and its products.

She also noted that the global demand for wood oil had led to the creation of an expansive illicit network of traffickers who seek to exploit community and Kenya Forest Service (KFS)-managed forests to harvest the woods.

Further, the Cabinet Secretary maintained that the harvest of sandalwood was banned by the Government in 2007, adding that despite the ban, the overexploitation of the tree had continued to prevail.

In that view, the CS noted that the public burning of the woods indicated the commitment by multi-stakeholders, including the KFS, Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (ODPP), Judiciary and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) against the destruction of forests through illegal sandalwood harvesting in community forests.

On his part, the DCI Director, Mr. Mohamed Amin, said that the East African Sandalwood is listed within the Wildlife Conservation and Management Sixth Schedule as an Endangered Species, adding that it is the same status as the White Rhino, African Elephant and the Blue Whale.

Mr Amin further noted that the DCI appreciated the need for multi-agency cooperation and collaboration in the fight against wildlife, forestry and fisheries crimes in Kenya and acknowledged that institutions must be able to handle this fight.

The DCI appealed to members of the public to continue sharing information with them through their hotlines.

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