by Peter Mutai
African countries should have a single voice to save elephants and rhinos from extinction due to rampant poaching across the continent. Visiting British Environment Minister Richard Benyon said on Friday that poaching is a global problem with high-level international criminality and urged African nations to adopt a united voice at the forthcoming Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) meeting in Thailand.
“I hope that there will be a unified voice at the upcoming CITES meeting on key issues like ivory and rhino horn, and that even countries such as British which don’t naturally host these magnificent animals are playing our part in supporting the work of organizations such as the Kenya Wildlife Service and their partnership with important charities like IFAW,” said Benyon during his first visit to Amboseli National Park.
Benyon who was meeting with frontline KWS officers during his first visit to Amboseli National Park called for a concerted effort from the international community to end the poaching menace before it takes the new form.
The British minister said there is need to act with urgency to curb rising poaching that has escalated despite various intervention measures.
“I wanted to talk to people who are dealing with the poaching issue on the ground rather than from Whitehall. The problem of poaching is a global problem with high level international criminality and we want to make sure that everyone understands that,” he said.
“These rangers and officers are heroes and heroines as they face off with poachers in addition to handling and managing sensitive challenges such as constricting wildlife habitats, conflict with wildlife, community partnerships and livelihoods amongst others.”
Dozens of rhinoceros, an all-time high, have been poached in the last four years, and current poaching of elephants is documented to be the highest since the 1980s. The illegal poaching of wildlife for commercial purposes is also decimating many more species.
KWS has listed elephants, lions, wild dogs, leopards, cheetah, hyenas, Sitatunga, Tana crested mangabey, and Tana red Columbus monkeys as some of the most endangered wildlife species in Kenya. More....