Last month, in an attempt to curb rampant poaching, the Kenyan government passed a bill imposing harsher the punishment for those caught illegally hunting wildlife -- including life imprisonment and fines of up to $230 thousand. And the deterrent seems to be working already.
According to the Standard, a serial poacher named Keleshi Parkusaa turned himself in to Kenya Wildlife Service authorities to avoid facing the new life sentence, surrendering his gun and ammunition during a public forum. Parkusaa, a former KWS employee, confessed to aiding poachers and personally killing two rhinos himself.
"While working here, I used to direct fellow poachers on where to locate rhinos in the conservancy and would derail fellow game scout to the opposite direction," he said.
"We sold the horn of one of the rhinos and each of us got Sh300,000 ($3,452)."
Last year, 60 rhinos were poached in Kenya, a trend which has gained momentum due to increased demand for their prized horns. Officials are optimistic that the threat of life in prison will curb illegal hunting and encourage other poachers to come forward for leniency.
"The stiff punishment will now deter the would-be poachers. We know that those who do the poaching are the small people while their bosses wait in cities to receive the trophies," says Wilbur Otichillo, author of the new law.
"This business is over."