LAIKIPIA (Xinhua) -- A team of wildlife conservationists have embarked on a three-week walk that kicked off on July 1 to raise awareness on the rampant poaching in the country.The awareness campaign dubbed "Ivory Belongs to Elephants" is being carried out in schools and tertiary institutions in areas around National Parks, game reserves, animal sanctuaries and areas synonymous with human-wildlife all over the country.
"These walks are not only designed to create awareness, but also a platform to share the details of wildlife and conservation Act 2012," Jim Justus Nyamu of the Elephants Neighbors Center (ENC) , an anti-poaching organization said on Friday.
"To win this war on poaching we call on all Kenyans to take a moment of concern and reflect the state of our resources in the coming years," he said in Nyahururu in northwest Kenya as he embarked on the third phase of the walk which will end on July 21.
Nyamu said his team has embarked on a massive program to educate local communities against engaging in the vice that now attracts huge penalties.
He said the walk that begun last year in Nairobi has seen them walk for over 4,000 km. He said the objective of the walk is to raise awareness against poaching of endangered species among the elephants and rhinos.
Nyamu noted that the number of live elephants stands at 26,400 elephants and the number was decreasing by day owing to rampant poaching.
"Kenya today are faced by many conservation challenges, like other developing countries these challenges have had great negative impacts on our environment and resources," Nyamu said.
Awareness on the wildlife ownership and existing data will shed more light towards conservation. Elephant poaching and exploitation of ivory trade have continued to pose a major threat to elephant populations in Kenya.
"In the 1979 to 1989, 151,100 elephants were killed in Kenya. We have lost 120 elephants this year alone including one of our biggest tuskers.
"The Great Mountain Bull of Mt. Kenya National Park," Nuamu said.
"Kenya currently accommodates 26,400 from a population of 35, 000 in 2011, at least four elephants are killed every day through poaching and community retaliation," he added.
Nyamu stressed that if stringent measures are not put into place the number could drastically reduce and hence the need to create awareness and educate the local communities on the dangers of poaching and also educate them on the contents of the Wildlife Act 2014 as regards penalties and compensation.
The conservationist said it is his responsibility to educate various community values, benefits of wildlife, and create awareness on the massive elephant poaching taking place in Kenya, through walking and talking to communities on the atrocities and the irreversible damages associated with killing of elephants.
The campaign which started in 2013 has reached out to many people in different parts of the world such as Narok, Mombasa, Meru, Nairobi and event.
He observed that elephant-human conflict remains a major challenge in Laikipia County among other regions, adding that concerted efforts were necessary to sensitize residents on the importance of protecting the animals as a national resource with huge benefits if well taken care of.
Nyamu, who has walked hundreds of miles both in the country and in the U.S. for the last two years, said that lack of proper information on the need to protect the endangered species among the youths was a major challenge, since the youths were being used to exacerbate poaching.