Law Library Stacks

Back to Index of Legal Reports

This report describes the regulatory framework relating to wildlife trafficking and poaching in seven African jurisdictions: Botswana, Central African Republic, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, and Tanzania. Included in the report are discussions of laws that criminalize poaching and trafficking in wildlife, the penalties imposed for such crimes, and the state institutions tasked with enforcing the laws.

Full Report (PDF, 384KB)


Botswana has a robust regulatory regime governing the conservation and management of its wildlife. This regime bans poaching as well as trade in animals, trophies, meat, and articles made out of trophies without the proper permits or in violation of the terms of a license or permit. Violation of any of the applicable laws entails various forms of penalties including fines, prison terms, forfeiture of tools used in the commission of a crime as well as the fruits of the crime, and revocation of licenses. Offenses involving certain vulnerable animals and recidivism result in greater penalties.

Read More

Central African Republic

The Central African Republic (CAR) possesses an extensive and well-developed legislative framework for the protection of wildlife, particularly pertaining to elephants and ivory products. Hunting activities are permitted under certain circumstances in certain areas of the country with prior authorization from the central government. Penalties range from fines to imprisonment, and enforcement is entrusted to a number of different government agencies.

Read More


Kenya has in place a comprehensive legislative framework that criminalizes not only wildlife poaching but also importing, exporting, dealing in, and transferring illegal animal trophies. Penalties for violations of the substantive laws and required legal procedures consist of fines, prison terms, and forfeiture of tools used in committing a crime, as well as the fruits of the crime themselves.

While certain aspects of enforcing the substantive laws are shared across several government institutions, it is the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), an institution with full prosecutorial powers, that bears the primary responsibility for wildlife law enforcement.

Read More


Specific laws regulate hunting in Mozambique. Those laws permit hunting in determined areas, require hunters to obtain a license, and protect some animals. Violations of the regulations are punishable with a fine and compensatory measures aimed at repairing the damage caused. The Penal Code punishes with three days in prison and a fine a person who hunts in areas where hunting is not permitted, uses prohibited means, or enters into areas for the purpose of hunting without the consent of the owner. Wildlife trafficking, however, is not criminalized.

Storage or transportation of, or trade in, forest and wildlife resources requires an authorization and must follow the conditions established by law. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is responsible for the administration, management, and monitoring of activities involving the use of forest and wildlife resources and their ecosystems in the national territory.

Read More

South Africa

Pursuant to the South African Constitution, legislative jurisdiction regarding the conservation and management of wildlife in South Africa is a concurrent function of the national and provincial governments.

The applicable national legislation, the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (NEMBA) prohibits certain activities defined as “restricted activities,” including hunting, selling, transferring, importing, or exporting any threatened or protected animals without a permit. In addition, it imposes further restrictions with regard to particularly vulnerable animals, including absolute bans on hunting and certain hunting methods.

Enforcement of the NEMBA and its subsidiary legislation is primarily the function of the Environmental Management Inspectorate, an organization made up of a network of national, provincial, and municipal government officials. The inspectorate enjoys wide-ranging authority, including inspection, search and seizure, and arrest powers. The South African Police Service (SAPS) also performs some key enforcement functions.

Read More


Tanzania has a highly fragmented national wildlife management and conservation regulatory regime in which three different laws control poaching: the Wildlife Conservation Act (WCA), the National Parks Act (NPA), and the Forest Resources Management and Conservation Act (FRMCA). All three criminalize poaching and prescribe an assortment of penalties for poaching-related offenses, which are by and large tied to the types of animals involved in the offending.

With regard to the issue of trafficking, the WCA appears to be the sole controlling legislation.

The enforcement mechanisms for these laws are divided across several organizations that cover specific areas of the country. These include the Wildlife Authority, the Forest Authority (Zanzibar), and the Board of Trustees of the Tanzania National Parks. While all three have sweeping search, seizure, and arrest authority, only the latter two enjoy prosecutorial powers.

Read More


Back to Top



Last Updated: 06/09/2015