First Lady launches awareness campaign against illegal ivory trade
Her Excellency the First Lady Margaret Kenyatta on Wednesday launched the CITES Cop18 awareness campaign that aims at stopping the ivory trade.
During the launch which took place at the historic Ivory Burning site inside Nairobi National Park, the First Lady said human-wildlife conflict is a major threat and concern that needs a sustainable solution.
“The state is aware of the challenges facing the wildlife conservation sector in Kenya and is doing its best towards a sustainable solution,” Mrs Kenyatta said.
The campaign dubbed Elephants and Their Ivory Should Never be Ripped Apart aims at curbing the illegal trade in elephant tusks that have seen an increase in the global market.
The Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife Mr Najib Balala noted that Kenya needed to work with other parties to win the fight against illegal wildlife trade.
“Today, 32 African countries stand together against the trade of ivory and that will not relent until this trade comes to an end,” Balala said.
The CS also urged the European Union and Japan to close domestic ivory markets in their respective regions.
The Kenya Wildlife Service said ivory trade is the biggest threat to elephant conservation and management across its ranges and Kenya has been on the forefront in fighting against this menace.
Kenya is currently the only country in Africa that hosts a digital database for all the wildlife species in Kenya and provides a platform for whistle blowing on wildlife poaching and illegal wildlife trade.
In 2014 President Uhuru Kenyatta signed the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act into law.
Under the law that is meant to protect endangered wildlife like elephants and rhinos, poachers and dealers in illegal animal trophies are liable to life imprisonment and a fine of more than Sh20 million.