Deterence of wild game poaching in many countries is complicated because of the isolated and difficult terrain where the game is found, the lack of legal enforcement of gaming laws in remote areas and at times, the corruption of poorly paid local officials lured by the high profits of poaching. Severe penalties for poaching have been created in a number of countries including in some, execution of the poachers.
The poaching of wild elephants for their tusks on the Chinese border with Burma and Laos has reduced the elephant population to some 200 animals. Chinese authorities, now committed to develop eco tourism projects in support of their indigenous elephant populations have introduced a range of positive encouragement measures for local farmers and at the same time are enforcing new extreme penalties on those caught poaching. The most shocking case of official involvement in poaching in China occurred in 1994 when two poachers were caught killing an elephant and explained how they had been hired by the local police chief to do so. For the several hundred dollars he had intended to pay the poachers the police chief stood to make US $10,000 from the elephants tusks. The police chief was subsequently executed as a warning to other local officials that official corruption would no longer be tolerated in poaching.
In May 2018, Kenya's Minister for Tourism and Wildlife announced that Kenya plans to fast-track laws to make wildlife crimes punishable by the death penalty.
Jeremiah Ogonda Asaka is a lecturer in Global Studies at Middle Tennessee State University. He gives three reasons why the proposal to execute convicted poachers is a bad idea:
It goes against the global trend away from using the death penalty.
Poachers are already willing to risk their lives, so it won't work as a deterrent.
Rather than putting in new laws, the government should address what's wrong with the current laws which offer sufficient penalties.